I have gotten to the point where I blog only when something really bothers me!! You know, when the Holy Spirit won't let something go! Today is one of those days...and if I am honest, one of those months.
Sometimes I get defensive when I hear young(er) people talk about how judgmental the church is. You see, I try my very best to look at each person and see them as Jesus does. I don't always succeed, but I do try. So, I become defensive...that is until this month. God allowed me to over-hear and see some things that showed me that maybe the "church" is judgmental. Stay with me.
After our Easter service a comment was made that it is so much more worshipful when we are dressed nicely and in robes and the next week some women began counting the number of women in pants and the number in skirts with those in skirts being the more spiritual. I laughed that off. But then last night I over-heard this comment, "The person speaking tonight only talked about sin. Can you believe that? He was talking to a group of senior adults about sin?"
That was when it really began to bother me because I think I finally got what those outside the church meant! We in the church think we can get too old to sin!! (tongue firmly planted in my cheek!) We (because the church is one and is judged by every member) also believe only young people sin and we must always call them out on their wayward ways. We seem to be saying, "We older people have arrived."
That just might be what is happening in our congregations, we think we have arrived. It reminds me of what the angel said to the Church at Ephesus: "Yet I have this against you. You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from it's place." Rev 2: 4-5
When we forget that it is about Jesus we lose our light. When we forget where we have come from, we will look at others in a prideful way. Pride goes before a fall, removing God's lampstand in the process. The lampstand is the light that leads others to Christ. We need to always remember who we are in relationship with a Holy God We have no right to think more highly of ourselves than we do others. As a matter of fact, the opposite holds true: we look at those who are caught in sin and remember our own behaviors and we have nothing but mercy on them not judgement. As James 2 says, Judgement without mercy will only lead to us being judged without mercy. I love James 2: 13 "Mercy triumphs over judgement!"
I am not judging these sweet people...they are just deluded into thinking that because they have gone to church FOREVER that they don't have to worry about sin. Many think of only outward behaviors. Those are easy to spot but the sin of bitterness, anger, unwholesome talk, and pride far outweigh those outward sins. These sins come from deep within the heart and cause our lights to go out. Instead of drawing people toward Jesus, we push them away. The Pharisees were experts at this and Jesus had some very harsh words to say to them.
So, do we get too old to sin? I don't! I need to be reminded of how far God has brought me and thank Him for it. I need to be reminded, for as long as God leaves me here, I will struggle with the enemy. Sometimes the enemy wins and that saddens me but it keeps me on my toes...reaching out to God for wisdom and strength and His MERCY.
I apologize to those who think we are judgmental...my eyes have been opened. I know I have not yet reached His goal. For you who have not gotten there either, I would love for you to run along with me as we, together press on toward the mark of the Glory of God.