No pre-marital sex. No slander. No swearing. No drunkenness. No greed. No lust. No coveting. These are all rules that Christians as a whole are expected to follow. We set these rules up trying hard to follow them all, but also need to grant ourselves and each other grace when failing to follow Jesus correctly happens.
Stories are shared about those who have grown up in the church as a true Jesus follower but then beliefs and relationship with God are abandoned when wounds begin to develop upon realization that many in the church are hypocrites, expecting each other to be perfect and judging others based on their sins or past poor decisions.
The truth is, the only person in any church who is perfect is Jesus. The moment this is embraced, and we work together through each other’s imperfections is when the church becomes fully in line with Jesus’s teachings. Instead of being more concerned about other sins, develop a helping hand to guide others along the fault line of being human. This is when a true community of believers is found, when complete brokenness is embraced, and worked to make whole again through the ultimate healer.
Spoken word poet Jeff Bethke says it best, “It’s not a museum for the good people, it’s a hospital for the broken.”
It is so easy to fall into the judgmental Christian trap, but that is not how Jesus was at all. He spent time with prostitutes, the town drunks, the lame, the blind, the weak. He did not pick favorites. He loved and treated everyone the same, even if they weren’t living the typical Christian lifestyle. He spent time with those who needed Him, not those that had already found and experienced God’s incredible love.
It’s time to begin to grant a little grace, and practice exactly what Jesus taught, not what the broken leaders of the church have been teaching. Christian or non-, it’s important to treat others with grace and understanding that we all are just doing our best to survive in this broken world of ours.
The church has imposed so many rules, that it’s difficult to not fall victim to getting so caught up in the list of cannots that walking with Jesus is forgotten about. When we get excited about following Jesus, so excited that His light shines through in all that we do, instead of complaining about the endless amount of rules we are supposed to follow, is when others will get excited about following Jesus too.
Instead of policing each other for our various impurities, work hard to clean yourself up to maintain your relationship with Him as well as polishing Christians already tarnished reputation as judgmental and hypocritical jerks. We can turn around the reputation of Christians. Instead of casting out those who sin or those who aren’t following Jesus, set an example through acts of kindness.
Ask your barista how she is doing, let someone into traffic, let someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, be patient while at a restaurant. Let’s try and change the reputation from judgmental Christian to the hands and feet of Jesus. Willing to walk along side and go the extra mile even for those who don’t believe or follow the same Christian guidelines is when we truly start to follow Jesus and His teachings.
The bottom line is this: God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, so we shouldn’t expect each other to be perfect. Grant everyone grace, and try to be nice instead of judgmental. Be the change that is needed in Christianity and in the world.