So here’s the deal. Here’s what I don’t understand. How can Pastors and Bible Study Leaders be so out of touch with what they’ve been called to do? I mean, Jesus’ second commandment was to ‘love one’s neighbor as oneself,’ right? And Pastors and Bible Study Leaders should certainly be able to follow what Jesus said, right? So why then, have I had multiple conversations this past month with Pastors and Bible Study Leaders who don’t remember that? Who hold their noses so high in the air, I wonder how they even breathe up there? Who are so busy picking specks out of others’ eyes that they don’t even recognize the whole blooming lumber mill in their own?
I have been blessed to be a part of a local church that meets in a park. We welcome everyone into the sanctuary regardless of race, gender, age, clothes, money, or even when they last had the chance to shower. It is the most undiscriminating place I have ever had the privilege of attending and I look forward to worshipping there every Sunday. I have also been blessed to be a part of a brick and mortar church that offers a Recovery program for those seeking healing from any and all addictions. Now you’d think, as I did, that those who serve there would be lovely. That they would be kind. That they would be good examples of ‘what would Jesus do.’ I was so wrong to think that. For the brunt of the conversations have been about ‘YOU people and THESE people and THOSE people. As in ‘What are you doing with THESE people?’ and ‘What are YOU people doing this next Sunday in the park?’ and ‘Who teaches THOSE people?’ and ‘How can we get THESE people to change their lifestyles to be more like…?’ and ‘What can you possibly teach THOSE people anyway…they won’t listen!’
Here’s the way I see it. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:2). Just because my sin is buried beneath clean clothes or I don’t have track marks on my arms or I live in a home and not under the bridge doesn’t make me any more worthy in His eyes. Who am I to judge? Just because my sin is more socially acceptable doesn’t make it less sinful. It just means I hide it better…which means I maneuver about in the world a little better and the world hates me a little less. But in John 15:18-27, Jesus explains that it is better to be hated by the world because the world hated Him first. So I’m thinking it’s NOT better for my sin to be less obvious and more accepted! I guess the thing that’s really wrong is that my Pastors and Bible Study Leaders are human. As a Christian, I get that. The problem is that WE people are constantly being evaluated by others who want to see if we walk the walk and talk the talk. If WE people are as lovely as we profess to be. And it makes me sad to think that because WE people talk about YOU people (with noses up, thank you very much!) then we are nothing more than stumbling blocks for ALL people who are trying to decide if being a Christian is worth it.