A friend of mine has problems with the church. Growing up in church, Chris felt ostracized and excluded by other Christian kids. Because Chris didn’t conform exactly to how other kids in the youth group acted and didn’t listen to the “proper” Christian music, Chris was shunned. Chris loves Jesus, loves God, is an adult now, but still has a challenging time getting back into church, because the church, and other Christian organizations didn’t have open arms.
The fact grieves my heart. And to be honest, it grieves my heart because I remember times I’ve seen someone who didn’t dress in “proper” church attire or act like the rest of the churchgoers, and I was uncomfortable. I might have been polite but I don’t think I was that welcoming. I am so sorry.
I wonder if we think being rude to someone will get them to change. The behavior reminds me of the time I was a kid and acted silly, talked too much, and couldn’t wear fashionable clothes, and was shunned by others in school. It hurt and didn’t help change me in positive ways. Shunning Chris in church, killed Chris’ love for the church.
Jesus didn’t tell people to clean up their act before they came to Him. He went to the sinners, the broken, the ostracized, the ones who didn’t fit in with the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus never shunned people, He loved them to life – His eternal life.
Let’s not shun people, let’s love people with the love of Jesus to point them to the love of Jesus. The love of a Savior, never shuns, but loves to Life.
“Little children (believers, dear ones), let us not love [merely in theory] with word or with tongue [giving lip service to compassion], but in action and in truth [in practice and in sincerity, because practical acts of love are more than words].” ~ 1 John 3:18 (AMP)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17, NASB).