Do we really want people to come as they are?

Most people probably clicked on this because of the title. We seem to find some sick satisfaction out of knowing someone else is worse than we are. We are quick to judge. Slow to ask questions. Hardly ever show compassion. And God forbid we overlook someone’s problems and just love them. 

It saddens me how many people don’t want to step foot in a church. Some people feel disqualified. Some people have no interest. Some people don’t come because we as church people can be jerks. 

Just think about the teenage girl that walks in your service with a child. Not her sibling. Her child. Think about the looks you give her. Or the looks she gets in your church. Do you ignore her existence or invite her to sit with you? Do you judge her for having a child so young and say she’s ruined her life? Or do you respect her bravery to take care of the child and not have an abortion?

Think about the guy who comes in wearing camo and smells like outside. Do we judge him for not cleaning up or are we just glad he’s there? Are we worried about him messing up our new seats we just had put on? What if it still smells like deer pee next week?

What about the teenage boy who shows up every week that always seems to get into trouble? The boy you know parties on the weekends? The one who brings a drink into the service and plays on his phone the whole time? Have we thought about the fact that shows up without parents? Have you invited him to do something with your family or are you too concerned he would be a bad influence on your own kids?

What if someone comes in with a hat on? Or visible tattoos? Or someone we know has an alcohol problem? Or that had an affair last year? Or that has been married 7 different times? Or who is a homosexual? Or a democrat? (Yeah. I went there.) Or the person who looks Muslim? Or the black guy? 

I’m reminded of the story of the religious people bringing the woman caught in adultery to Jesus. She was probably naked since she was “caught in the act”. We overlook the fact the guy she was caught in the act of adultery with isn’t anywhere to be found. Just a little odd to me. Jesus didn’t shy away from her because she was dirty. Jesus didn’t look the other direction because it was uncomfortable. Jesus gave her grace. The woman he could have had stoned. The woman who didn’t deserve it. 

I’m just concerned about the church. Why have we as church goers made it more about ourselves inside the church than people outside? Why is it easier to give to a cause we benefit from than to give to those who need it? Why are we more concerned about our new carpet or “church dress code” than we are about the souls of those going to hell? Why is it so hard for us to extend grace? So often I think “that’s what they deserve!” Forgetting what I deserve. Interesting how we enforce rules or standards on others but we don’t have to go by them ourselves. 

This blog is written to me. I struggle with these things. It’s human nature to. That doesn’t mean we stay there. We have to love people. Regardless of circumstances. Regardless of looks. Or background. Or race. Or lifestyle. Or even religion. We must love as Jesus loves. Unconditionally. We must extend grace to those who don’t deserve it. Just as Christ did for us on the cross. Before we count people out or judge them because of mistakes let’s think of how much Christ forgave us for. 
Love God. Love others. 

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