This post is not an attempt to scold anyone; only to encourage each of us to examine our hearts and grow.
My husband and I were out of town several years ago visiting a family member and had planned to attend church with them that Sunday morning. Our family member had warned us that the Church was upset with their pastor. She explained to us there was this man who had been attending the worship services on Sunday mornings who may have been homeless and obviously had an issue with alcohol because he still smelled of alcohol when he attended church on Sunday mornings. The pastor refused to allow anyone to ask him to leave.
My family member and I were in complete agreement with their pastor and couldn’t imagine a Church filled with the Holy Spirit wanting to ask someone in such obvious need to leave the church instead of reaching out to him. I mean, seriously, could you imagine Jesus asking the people who approached Him with their needs and issues to ‘leave Him’?
My husband and I were received warmly by the Church when we arrived that Sunday morning. We took our seats and as we were waiting for the worship service to begin, this man entered the sanctuary and took a seat on the pew directly in front us. I knew it was the man my relative had refered to because I heard the lady sitting with her husband behind us say, “Someone should really ask him to leave.” I looked at my husband and said, “If anyone asks him to leave we are getting up and walking out of here with him.” Thank God, no one did and he remained throughout the service. However, this experience made an extremely profound impression on me.
Unfortunately, this is not a rare occasion in some churches today. So many claim to want people to come through the doors to worship with them but they feel the need to pick and choose who they want to welcome or not. They seem to have some predetermined image of who is acceptable and who is not. It’s as if they expect their guests to be transformed and refined by the fire before they are welcomed through the doors.
Later, someone made a comment to me expressing her concern over rumors surrounding someone who had began attending the same church she had been attending. She was concerned to the point that she was considering leaving the church because this couple was attending and their pastor considered the rumors gossip and refused to confront it. It turned out these rumors were based on someone’s perception rather than anything of real substance.
Seriously, what has become of the Church? Who do we think we are? Who does the Church think the church is for? Who do we think the Church is for? Aren’t we supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus?
1 Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
Aren’t we commanded to love one another as Christ loves us? YES, we are!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” – John 13:34-35
I can’t tell you how thankful I am that Jesus Christ was willing to meet me right where I was in the pit of my life and save me. Praise God! He didn’t ask me to leave. He didn’t ignore me. He didn’t reject me. He didn’t leave when I arrived. He met me right where I was and accepted me just as I was.
The Church, every single one of us, including myself needs to come to our knees and pray regularly, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24
We all, every single one of us needs to examine ourselves regularly and ask God to search our hearts and change us. We need to desire and seek that change. His Word tells us:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2
Seriously, what kind of Christians are we if we aren’t transformed and we look like the world? Why would anyone want what we have if it looks no different than what they find in the world? When visitors walk through our church doors who do they find? If we are the body of Christ, shouldn’t it be Christ or someone who resembles Him that they find within our doors? Who’s in your church?