It seems like people in churches can never run out of a reason to judge someone. She had a baby out of wedlock. He sold drugs, and now he wants salvation. Kanye West is doing Sunday service. Religious environments can be so toxic to the soul. Why do broken people love breaking down others in their pursuit of knowing Jesus? It’s no wonder millennials are leaving the church at alarming rates—there’s no room for authenticity in a place filled with replicas of what others think Jesus is. And to clear the air, we are deeply in love with the church established by God. And you can find members of our team serving, leading, and giving to church every Sunday because it’s something we value and require. However, we’re not ignorant to the fact that the stigma of the church is pushing people away. Because if they ain’t judging one thing, you better believe there’s something.
So, if you follow the blog, you know that we rock with Kanye. Even more than that we rock with God. We believe that His heart is grieved every time our actions push someone further away from the truth. There are a lot of “Kanyes” seeking the kingdom of God. But they won’t step foot into the church because of the way they’d be ripped to shreds by looks and snickers. Instead of rejoicing at transformation, we reject it. How is anyone supposed to maintain a Christ-centered mindset when the people they need most word curse it out of them! Yikes. Mr. West is producing an opera named Nebuchadnezzar and the first thing we read was about how abominable this was. Judgment can quickly cause people to forget that Nebuchadnezzar came to Christ. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had to show him the way. That is what we’re supposed to do as Kingdom Citizens guide people to the living God. Even the murderer Paul had to be touched by Ananias—someone he would have once persecuted.
Our goal as the body of Christ is to free others from spiritual bondage and introduce them to the freedom found only in our King. Sometimes the ones in bondage sit in prominent seats, work the altars, greet you at the door, or even minister from the pulpit. The truth is they need to be set free before they can offer that same freedom to someone else. Those people are inflicted by the pain of religion too, it’s just easier to hide behind tradition than risk exploitation from exposing the truth.
Individually we have to live in authentic truth and tell our stories to the world. That is how God softens the hearts of those around us. That is how guards are let down. That vulnerability is what attracts people who need God to the church. It’s empowering when someone whose been labeled a murderer learns someone who’s done the same thing is redeemed. When the woman that had an abortion is ministered to by a woman who’s done the same—powerful. Instead, people hide behind positions and haughtiness. The world is laughing at us—and we are stripped of our power to adequately communicate the transformative power of the gospel.
Because just like people inside of the church are judging everything, people outside of the church are judging everything we do too. One excuse not to come to church is too many. People have thousands because of our behavior. The church is fake, the church is cliquey, it’s a big fashion show, the church is mean, the church is stealing our money, the church doesn’t take care of its people, the church is full of hypocrites, the church is full of cheaters. These stereotypes fueled by reality hinder the progression. So many of these excuses are trivial. But it doesn’t matter. Religion is working hard on both sides. We are literally reaping what we’ve sown as a body. We cast judgment on them—they cast judgment on us. So what are we supposed to do?
We need to get free. Introduce our minds to a new way of thinking. We must become so desperate for God that all religion fades away. And this is on both sides. Someone coming to church smelling like weed should not be a reason to isolate them—it’s a reason to celebrate. Some failing in the church isn’t a reason to turn and run away from the kingdom of God. It’s a reason to get involved and to know him for yourself. We will never be free of mistakes and behaviors that offend someone else. But we think if we all came to the kingdom with an open mind there would be better results. So let us, anybody reading the blog, take the first step by giving what we need—love. And together we can get past nothing, and really start building something.
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