This Old House was once a place and symbol of love and respect. Where people would gather as a community, where dads and moms sat with their children and heard God's word together. Where they could share a meal after the preacher man was finished. This Old House was a place of serenity. The place where you could sit next to your neighbor's and discussed the issues of life in a public gathering.
But how things have changed. In society today, we have to have security systems on the house of worship. We have to have state of the art equipment and the best sound systems... We have to offer our people custom tailored classes and padded chairs so they could deal with life. And we better have good air conditioning and heat... a wood burning stove in the middle of the room or open windows are no longer acceptable. My God how we have changed.
Let me ask you a question? If today, you attended a church service and found out that the person sitting right next to you had a past... you know...a past... one that doesn't line up with your expectations in life or even your life style... what would your reaction be? I mean, if that person in the seat right next to you was just released from prison or maybe has the HIV virus or AIDS... how would you react?
The house of God... the church is suppose to have open arms to all. The house of God is suppose to be a hospital for the sick not just a hotel for the saints. We're called to be like Jesus and He said, in Matthew 9:12-13 (NLT) "Healthy people don't need a doctor--sick people do. Then He added, Now go and learn the meaning of this scripture, I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices. For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."
So now... with just this thought in mind... how do you react when you hear others from your community fellowship talking about that young girl in your church who is...or has been prostituting... or what is your reaction when some tattooed man with piercings walks in, still looks strung out, and sits down next to you? Do you have open arms? Or do you grab your family up and say... we need to find a different church... this one isn't safe, it allows anyone to come here!
Today please listen to my heart; as you read this blog... if you're a Christian, would you take a moment to check out your heart as well as your walk. I don't say this to condemn you, yet to often, us church goers forget... that we too were set free from our sins and we begin to become complacent in our new life... we forget the fact that we all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory.
We loose our perspectives, and we begin to focus on our rewards in Heaven. We look down on those who have not arrived at our level of our spiritually... we become judges... we forget that one day not that long ago, we were the ones looking for love and hope.
Our society has changed... our presentation has changed... but our mission has never changed.
We are called to heal the sick... raise the dead and bring a message of hope and love to a lost a dying world. Listen... you can't hug a person if your arms are crossed, and if that fact isn't Biblical enough for you... how about this... what we sow is what we reap... is this how we want God to welcome us?
If you're reading this today, and you have experienced poor treatment in a church... please allow me to apologize to you and ask you to forgive. I too have gone through this same experience and have even been used as a trophy at one of the church's I attended. The Pastor stood in front of his congregation and said... we allow all kinds of people to attend here... then I was asked to go and stand up next to the Pastor. Talk about his pride and my embarrassment.
Today... I know who I stand before and I have learned to forgive much because God has forgiven me of much.
If this has been revelation to you... Call on God's help and change what ever He shows you. If you've acted this way in church... repent. If you've judged the church because of the way you were treated... forgive. Healing can only begin as we apply the truth of God's unchanging Word.
I'm looking forward to your comments.
Jim "DoughBoy" Brady