It’s Sunday morning and you’ve just arrived to church. You are 10 minutes early, like always, and have taken your “scriptural” seat. Looking around you’re surprised when Adam Smith walks through the door. Last weekend he got drunk out on his farm according to his youngest boy, Jake. You see the eyebrows raising of your fellow brothers and sisters and know they’re as surprised as you are.
Your cell phone vibrates. You have a text from Jane who sits a few pews behind you.
Jane: Don’t look now but Susan just slipped in the back. The Lord may be coming back today! Ha.
Susan Amos? Oh my goodness. You grew up in the youth group with Susan and at last count she was on her fifth husband, but you’ve heard lately that the man she is currently with isn’t her husband.
This will be an interesting Sunday morning.
Announcements start. Then you pick up your song book. “How Great Thou Art” – one of your favorites. You lift up your voice in unison to sing to your Savior.
A figure slips in quickly and quietly, head down, and sits at the end of your row. You can’t believe your eyes. John Williams. His pants are pressed, shirt and jacket tailored, the man is made of money. That’s probably how he got out of the murder charges filed against him last year. Yea, he’s on his second wife and her husband died last year after going on a hunting trip with John. This is a Sunday morning for the books.
Your phone is buzzing incessantly by your side. You’re sure after church you’ll have 1000s of texts. You bet Rita, Jane, and Margie are all as shocked as you are. Is it Christmas? What are all these people doing here on the SAME Sunday?!
Sometimes I am shocked by Christians and the way we behave. I read my Bible and think constantly – what if these people showed up to church today? Now, I go to a wonderful congregation where I truly do not think this would be the reaction (the above conversation) but I still hear conversations like this all the time. It is sad.
The first example I gave – “Adam Smith” did it sound familiar?
Turn to Genesis chapter 9:
Noah? The same Noah mentioned here in Hebrews 11?
Yep, the same one.
Okay okay, all he did was get drunk – once. That woman, Susan, she’s not in the bible, is she?
So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?” 30They went out of the town and were coming to him.
Yep, “Susan” met Jesus. And SUSAN brought people to Jesus. A sinner. Crazy, huh?
Okay, okay. But there is nooo way “John” is in the Bible. Well, I saved my favorite for last. Do you remember King David? The man after God’s OWN heart? The adulterous murderer?
Turn to 2 Samuel 12:
David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”
I want to say something important here – I am not condoning sin. Neither did Jesus. I am saying that the Church is made up of sinners. We are a sinful people who are constantly making mistakes.
What if, instead of talking about “Adam (Noah)” we gave him a hug and told him how good it was to see him this morning? What if we really meant it from the bottom of our hearts?
What if, instead of texting about “Susan (the woman at the well)”, we held her hand, prayed for her, and told her that we understand how hard life is – but we are here for her? What if we helped her know Jesus more intimately?
What if, instead of gossiping about “John (David)”, we helped him see his sins, as Nathan did, and prayed for him? What if we encouraged him? What if we helped him leave his life of sin?
This isn’t a post about condoning sin – this is a post about helping, encouraging, and being better Christians. This is a post about being Christ-like. Let’s stop calling ourselves Christians and gossiping behind our brethrens back. Let’s stop looking down on others because of their sin and instead find ways to encourage, love, and help.
Stop worrying about my tattoos and start worrying about my soul. Stop looking at my piercings and instead look at my heart.
Take my hand. Pray for me. I’ll pray for you.
Everyone you meet is fighting a spiritual battle. Don’t let the devil win.