Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be king to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving you because you belong to Christ.
Ephesians 4: 31-32
So I was listening to a mix CD of some of my favorite Christian music on the way in to work today, and one of my favorite songs played - "Does Anybody Hear Her" by Casting Crowns. The line "they can't see past her scarlet letter, and they never even met her" reminds me of many church's today, but one in particular...
My husband grew up in the southern baptist community. Not knocking them as a whole (I don't like to stereotype) but I've not been to a southern baptist church that I'm impressed with. They are extremely religious... In fact one in particular I never felt so UNwelcome. I've been there only a handful of times. Never once was a I greeted and welcomed.But we would visit because it was my in-law's church.
The time that sticks out the most was probably my second or third visit. I cannot remember the nature of the visit, it was was some sort of event I believe, we were in the fellowship hall. My husband and I were dating at the time. (Those of you who may have read my testimony know I was knocked up during that time and we didn't get married until after my son was born.) Now I cannot honestly remember if I was pregnant at this moment in time or this was after Andrew was born, but that's not really the point. Adam was dating the pregnant girl. I felt the glares, the stares, and heard the whispers... but nothing was as bad as what came next. I walked up to a group about our age and was literally shunned. I didn't even get a word out; they saw me coming and literally turned their backs... They can't see past her scarlet letter, and they never even met her.
But you know what's wonderful? Our lord and savior doesn't condemn or shun us. He loves us. That love is unwavering and unrelenting. My faith in him is unwavering... people, not so much. The church is human. We can't expect them to be perfect (but they should at least try to be loving!) If as Christians we're supposed to be Christ-like, then as a whole, we're failing.
"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).