“You’re too young. You’re too old. Remember, the camera adds ten pounds. Real men like curves. If you wore red lipstick, you would be more attractive. Glad you finally did something with your hair. You sang that well, but we prefer _____. We want someone with your skills and heart, but...”
Insults. Contradictions. Opinions. These are all things I’ve heard over the years. And not from people while playing at bars or participating in secular-world events, but by people inside the walls of churches.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, "Therefore, encourage one another and build each other up."
I’m sharing this because as a Christian, I want to do better. Let’s face it, so many non-Christians despise people that call themselves Christians because instead of loving and encouraging each other, we instead attack and condemn. It’s not our job to judge someone. It’s not our right to put worldly standards and conditions on something God has anointed. We have been called to love. Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
Someone’s relationship with God and someone’s calling from God are private things that can only be judged by God and that specific person. The church is supposed to be a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints, so why inside the church walls, do we choose to destroy each other?
I’ll be the first to admit that I have said and thought things about others, that were not edifying or encouraging, and it usually came down to an insecurity in myself. This is not a sympathy-seeking post. This is not a soap-box post. This is not a solution post. I don’t have some magic answer to change anything.
All I know is I strive to always try to do better. I pick up my cross daily. I also fall short daily. My competition is with who I was yesterday and striving to continue to grow deeper in my relationship with God.
For anyone that has been hurt by the church, please recognize there is a difference between the PEOPLE of God and God. As the people of God, we are all still works in progress. Something I have learned while serving at Celebrate Recovery is "hurting people hurt people." As humans we are all fallible, which means we are likely to make errors, disappoint one another and fail. This is not an excuse or a free-pass to treat each others poorly. It is a reminder that our worth should not come from how others view and treat us. Don't run away from God because someone claiming to know Him has mistreated or failed you.
1 John 3:1-2 reminds us, "See how very much our Father loves us, for He calls us His children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don't recognize that we are God's children because they don't know Him."
When you seek God's love first, you begin to love and accept yourself without the need to seek it from others. It replaces the need to pretend to be someone you are not in the hope people will accept you. It replaces the need to fit in and be seen by others because you know Your Father sees you.
No matter what you have done. No matter where you have been. In God's eyes...You. Are. Enough. God is not looking for you to "arrive" or be "perfect" before He loves you. He already does. His love is not conditional. It is eternal. It is perfect.
1 John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
Church let’s do better. Let’s be a light for the lost, not a court and jury that decides who is worthy of love. God sees the true heart. He hears the private conversations. He knows our true intentions.
God help open our eyes. Help us to be a light in the dark. Help us to be kingdom minded, not be limited by the standards of this fallen world. <3