Thursday, January 01, 2009

Hiding behind our “Sinner” labels…

He and his family are typical new church-goers. Both growing up in the faith, and they both know the truth. In college and early career days, church was not on their agenda. The children came along and they decided they must go back to church. They wanted a church that lived the truth not just talked about it. They found one; some fellowship, and the truth was being preached and lived out. They were beginning to feel comfortable.

They were involved in ministry to the poor, soup kitchens and other forms of outreach. A project was scheduled; they arrived to find they were the only ones there. They left voicemails to find out where and when or what happened. They heard from no one. E-mails were sent, voicemails left, no one responded.

The man said, “If they treat potential new members this way, how do they treat the people they minister to?”

The man said to me, “I thought I found a church that lived out their faith, but the way we were treated leaves me wondering. If my business treated their customers and potential customers this way, we would be out of business.” Then he said, “What kind of people would do this?”

I said, “Sinners. Yes, sinners just like us.” I thought some more. How long will we as Christians hide our personal failures behind the fact that we are sinners? We use it as an excuse to justify our lack of competence or just plain decency.

Yes, the truth is, we are all sinners but we are to be on the road to Spiritual maturity (sanctification). We are to live our faith with love, kindness and humility. Why couldn’t the people who forgot to tell the young couple of the change in schedule just call them back and confess the failure? These people would have understood; they understand we all fail at some time and they would be willing to continue on. Instead, a lack of response, no attempt to right a wrong, drives another young couple away from the church. They are left wondering “What kind of people are they?” “Just another church which says one thing and their people do another,” the wife said. “Why would we want to be part of a group like that?” Good question.

Brothers and sisters, let us stop justifying our incompetence by hiding out behind the fact we are sinners. Yes, we are sinners but Christ has redeemed us and supposedly transformed us. Let’s cut out the good ol’ boy back slapping, oh, we’re just sinners, crap and live a changed life and get serious about our faith. If we cannot treat new families that come to our churches with a minimum of decency, how do we expect to reach out beyond our walls to a hurting world?

Let’s stand up, admit our mistakes, ask for forgiveness, change our ways and go to work. Do I believe this will happen? I can only say, please Lord, help us.

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