I once took a test on spiritual gifts. It was designed to provide an idea of what kind of skills that I, as a Christian, would be best suited to use, and the most comfortable using. I was rated on a 15-point scale in different areas such as Administration, Encouragement, Leadership, etc. There were a few areas I scored over 10, and a few in the middle of the pack.
I scored a 1 out of 15 in Evangelism, which is the ability to spread the word of God and talk about my faith. So you can understand why doing so is a hard thing for me. I much prefer to just do my thing in other ways.
But when our pastor posted this blog, it hit some kind of nerve. I, of course, think you should read it, but let me try to boil part of it down.
He received a pair of communications during the week. One issue occurred when a friend of his tagged him in a photo where there was someone giving the camera the number one salute. People actually unfriended him on Facebook over this.
Another was from a person who visited our church for the first time, and that's the one that really got to me. That person, in part, wrote him this:
"The person next to me smelled like alcohol. It was unbearable. How could true leaders tolerate such things happening???? I will NEVER attend your ‘gathering’ and inform every person I know about the lack of following Jesus at this place. I cannot bring myself to call it a church with those kind of people in it."
There is a lot I would like to say about this. I'd like to talk about how this person shouldn't stand in judgement. About how she didn't know if perhaps the person who "offended" her might have been coming to our church for the first time. Or maybe ANY church for the first time. Maybe they had a really bad night and really needed to be there. About how that kind of attitude turned me off to church for a long time (and still does in many cases).
But as I continued to turn it over in my head, I realized that wasn't what I really wanted to say. It's this ...
I am the person who partied all night and woke up the next morning smelling of alcohol.
I am the person who flipped the bird in a photo and tagged my pastor in the picture.
I am the member of the LGBT community who would like nothing more than a little fellowship without being constantly judged.
I am the homeless man who hasn't showered in days.
I am the internet troll who gets his kicks out of getting people riled up.
I am the guy who has trouble every day prioritizing his life.
And I am also the person who sits in a church judging all of these people.
Obviously I'm not speaking literally. My point is this - there is one thing these people all have in common, that everyone in the world has in common.
There is not a single one of them, of us, that is worthy of the love of a perfect God. And He loves us anyway.
Think about that. We ALL screw up. We all fall short, and yet He still loves us as only He can.
"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
I wanna heal, I wanna feel
What I thought was never real
I wanna let go of the pain
I've felt so long
I wanna heal, I wanna feel
Like I'm close to something real
I wanna find something I wanted all along
Somewhere I belong
- Linkin Park "Somewhere I Belong"