Selfish, Weak, Unfaithful, Immoral, & Just As Forgiven As You Are, My Friend

funny-church-signs-5I’m having a little spiritual battle in my mind these days about churches. My daughter, Rebekkah, has joined a non-denominational church.

Yikes.

I know all the stuff people are always saying about church…”don’t forsake the gathering”, yada, yada. I agree in theory. In reality, I have had some real issues with churches in my own life, and even after 30 years, I still find myself uneasy about stepping into any of them. So, when my daughter comes home and tells me that a woman has implied that my daughter was not saved because once upon a time she smoked pot, all that anger at the presumptiousness of self-righteous twits comes rushing back to the surface.

It is exchanges like the one Rebekkah had her SECOND week at this church that make me not want to attend any. Why do people think they have a handle on other people’s salvation? You will never hear me tell another person they are going to hell because I don’t know that. It isn’t my decision, and I have no knowledge of the condition of someone else’s relationship with their maker. I can’t tell the future, nor does God run this stuff by me. If it isn’t your salvation, butt out.

Jesus did not spend a great deal of time going to church twice a week, attending a bible study at an elder’s house one night a week, planning church rummage sales, building gyms for the local youth, or discussing Christianity with other Christians. He ate with the people the religious leaders considered beneath them. His followers weren’t those people who were the best at following the rules. His followers were the people who much had to be forgiven.

Isn’t that the catch when it comes to relationships with Jesus, though? Those of us who have sinned simsso much already know we can’t do it on our own. Our meager efforts to “live right” were squashed into a million pieces long ago, and the importance of appearing righteous in other people’s’ eyes has faded in the face of the crushing despair of knowing we are disappointingly base, selfish, hypocritical, weak, and unfaithful, despite our best efforts not to be. And with the knowledge of just how much He has forgiven in our own lives, our gratefulness is so much more increased because of it.

I have nothing in common with those people who have no glaring, dirty sins to repent from. My family calls people who on the surface, have lived perfect, orderly, righteous lives “Oh My’s”. I know God sent people among that part of the harvest who were equipped for those argument, but it was not me. I work better among those who have seen the consequences of very bad decisions…drugs, sex, crime, abuse. I love the look in a person’s eyes who knows just how much Jesus must have loved them to die for all the crap they alone bring to the table. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than hope born in a life that has so little. To me, “Oh My’s” are the unlucky ones in this scenario. They can’t appreciate being forgiven as much as others of us can.

Too bad for them.

I guess I would have to say, despite everything, I wouldn’t really change any of the mistakes I made throughout my life. Instead, I believe my life is a perfect example of God’s promise that even the bad stuff in our lives can be used for His glory.

Yes. He’s that good.

It is not productive to inform another person that they aren’t saved because of something they’ve done in their past. There is no precedence for it in the Bible, and not many of us would pass that litmus test if it were. It is only a fool who spouts off judgements like this when God clearly did not invite us to judge each other at all.

If you think someone is being deceived, there are far better ways of helping them find the light than informing them they are going to hell. I would question the motives of anyone who would say something like that to someone else anyways.

That’s my rant for the night.

~ Bird

 

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26 Comments

  1. While all you have said is true so many times and perhaps in this case as well—members of churches are simply sinners saved by grace–if they are saved and yes many are not and like you I could never judge that but it is true because I have seen people that have been members for years walk the isle on a Sunday Morning and get saved. Church members make mistakes and struggle with pride and sin in their lives. The church isn’t perfect because it is filled with imperfect people. They make mistakes and rush to judgment just like all of us have done at one time or another.
    And yes many believers lose their zeal and forget what they once were with the Lord in their lives. They get too comfortable with going through the motions–they forget when they see someone who is down and out(here I regretfully include myself) ” there but by the grace of God go I.”
    But other believers in the church are not the ‘enemy’–the enemy who wants you to walk away from church is Satan.
    In spite of that one person my guess is that there are 20 others (hopefully more) there that would never say that to your daughter and they are happy to see her attending and are praying for her.
    I say this as a person who has spent the majority of her life in a church and its ministries and has been “hurt’ many times by other believers—But God has taught me that they(our brothers and sisters in Christ and that is who they are) are not the enemy.
    I hope I explained this right–I mean no offense–I just hate to see you and your daughter miss the fellowship with other believers. Because on the flip side of this I have made some dear Christian friends that have helped me to stay faithful in my walk with the Lord. God Bless

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    • I am not offended. And of course, you are right. I guess I just have some problems with the fact that a church is supposed to be some place you go to grow and learn, not a place to be judged by those whose job in the kingdom is to draw in people, not push them away. My kid did not judge the entire church by the mistake of one person, and I applaud her ability to do that. The down side of this exchange is that I’m angry that it is the newcomers to a church that have to remember the people in the church are as fallen as they are, and to have mercy on them. What exactly has been being taught in this church that this would be the case?
      I met a lot of dear people during my church days, and I learned a lot from them. I think churches don’t get to whine and moan about lagging attendance when they treat newcomers like they have some God-mandate to make them feel ashamed and inferior. It doesn’t take the Gift of Wisdom & Knowledge to figure out what is going wrong in this scenario.

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  2. I think the happiest moment of my Christian walk was realizing that even once I became a Christian… Jesus death on the cross didn’t just cover my previous sins but also ones I might (will definitely) commit in the future…. I am saved yesterday, today and forever….. (I anyone is not it is because of an error in their heart and they don’t really believe and likely never did) but like you I never say never is somebody not saved as God is the only judge…at least He should be…. Diane

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    • I agree with you, Diane. The beauty AND RELIEF of the minute ALL my sins were forgiven was immeasurable. As for the technicalities of a person’s salvation, we have no choice but to leave that between God and that person. He mentions that He judges us by the light we walk in…How can another person possibly judge that!?

      I just don’t understand why a person would make it a point to show how little she understands about a religion to a new comer to church? And this church is actually having meetings trying to figure out how to up their attendance.

      News Flash: Don’t offend people with stupid judgments you know nothing about! Right there, I would turn around and walk out the door. How many lost went looking only to feel unworthy?

      That pisses me right off.

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  3. I’m atheist but every now and then I like to go to church (in Holland we have some real nice medieval ones) just to get break from life and the weirdo’s that come with it. As per the woman judges your daughter.. whenever someone bugs me I just tell them to let the judging over to the good man upstairs. It’s sad that of all the things that woman could say she choose those unkind words, there are so many other ways to connect with another human soul.

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    • You are absolutely right.

      I love my kid, and obviously, I’m a little more pissed about this than I normally would be, but I have a few issues with the little exchange. First, if you are going to pull the speck out of someone else’s eye, let’s take care of the forest growing in your own. Anyone who feels they have the authority to tell someone else they know better the state of their salvation than the person themselves is an idiot who doesn’t understand even the most basic of the statutes of Christianity. And second, what was the point of this little snark fest? Was it to draw someone to the Lord or just to make someone else feel inferior in order to have a moment of feeling superior? The motivation was not kind or even congenial. It was pretty high school drama kind of crap. And lastly, churches are ineffective in Christianity anymore because too many people don’t make the cut in the Righteousness club. It has being neutralized and has become a form of godliness with no power behind it whatsoever.
      Where exactly is the Army of God??? It ain’t at any churches I know of today!!

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  4. Aaargh typo’s 6:41 in the morning.. first things first.. coffee! ;)

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    • lol…Well, you got my midnight rant.

      Too Much Coffee!

      Have a good day! Thanks for contributing to the discussion. I like a lively chat!

      Liked by 1 person

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  5. Terri

     /  June 5, 2014

    I’m stuck on the part where smoking pot causes the loss of salvation, Is that only in Oklahoma because of man made laws? Pshh! People are so judgmental. Oh, yeah, isn’t judging people a sin too?

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  6. We’ve been on a church hunt for over a year and it is shocking what you find. I love what you have written. If someone told me I wasn’t saved because _______, I would run. My salvation is between me Jesus. While it is hard to say a church is bad, I have found a couple where the staff really sets a tone for the members. One, in particular was so keyed up about doctrine they totally forgot about love in their effort to instruct. Its a shame, really. There are many good churches out there. We think we have found one and I hope you do too. While I wouldn’t be a part of the “Don’t forsake the gathering” crowd, I think there is value in corporate worship and being a part of the body.
    Blessings.

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  7. You took the words right out of my mouth- and probably wrote them better than I ever could!
    I hope Rebekkah doesn’t let those “Oh My’s” bring her down.

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  8. Joyce

     /  June 5, 2014

    All I have to say is those who seek righteousness will find it, regardless of the modern day Pharisee ! Hope she continues her search… Nothing ever surprises me anymore you & I know this is a typical scene played out in countless churches to countless people!

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  9. Debbie Snipes

     /  June 5, 2014

    “Amen” to every word Bird.
    ( I live in the bible belt, west Tennessee )

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  10. “a woman has implied that my daughter was not saved because once upon a time she smoked pot”

    Wha?!! That has to be one of the most scriptually ludicrous comments I’ve heard to date, and boy howdy, let me tell you I’ve heard plenty. This woman is implying that you have to be sinless even “before” coming to Christ. No human that ever walked the face of this planet was without sin, except Jesus.

    So, if anyone was born “sinless” and lived a perfect sinless life in any respect, (which no one can or ever has), why did Jesus suffer and die?

    This woman is in trouble and needs some serious prayer, plus a bunch of knee time and bible reading herself.

    So very many things I could say about this, but my astonishment is so great- words fail me. Suffice it to say, Praise God! Rebekkah is seeking God, and unless I miss my guess, she’s a whole lot like her mom in that she’s the kind of woman that has to find out for herself. She’s blessed, in that for every whopper these spiritul disinfo agents attempt to spoon feed her, she has a mind of her own and a mom at home who knows the truth and will set her straight on it.

    I look at it this way, the experiences you and I had in these churches were like boot camp , so that we would eventually be able to recognize the enemy face to face; the deceivers, the false accusers, the false teachers, in order that we could eventually warn and counsel others about spiritual pitfalls.

    If Rebekkah is truly seeking truth and the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and I believe she is, she will find it. Jesus Himself will guide her through. She’s in her own boot camp right now, and she will come out a little bruised but a whole lot wiser and stronger for it. Trust Him, mama Bird, Your baby bird is learning to fly. She’s not going to crash and burn.

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  11. DesperateDad

     /  June 5, 2014

    Bird,
    I loved your blogs!! I would like to speak with you if at all possible. It is very important. I think you could help me more than youll ever know if you could contact me please
    Thank you in advance,
    DesperateDad

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  12. I can relate to this post in SO MANY WAYS. I’m not sure if you realize just how many people are feeling the same way.

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  13. Reblogged this on 2% Mom and commented:
    Some poignant thoughts about church today.

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  14. I consider myself to have a very close relationship with God and strive to surround myself with those that are living to honor Him as I strive to do daily, however I do not attend church because I do not find a building full of people passing judgement on others, while sweeping their own discreations under the rug, a healthy place to be. I, like you, “have nothing in common with those people who have no glaring, dirty sins to repent from”.

    Also I find that most people who attend church regularly settle, living their life according to the opinion of the person preaching that day all the way down to the holidays celebrated every year. That is not what the bible instructs us to do, we are suppose to study the bible and learn the true meaning of his word on our own. The churches have distorted this and are doing what they are taught to bring money to their door, doing what they have to do to please the masses. That is not the church of the bible. The church of the bible follows God’s word, loves and embraces everyone and teaches us, instructing us to live being the example.

    I believe this rant of yours is the very reason the majority of people have walked away from attending church. God’s army walks alone, They get it, they understand what God is saying and break away to be that example verses staying, caught in the rut doing just what everyone else is doing to feel as if they fit in.

    All the best.

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  15. Suki

     /  July 10, 2014

    I am very skittish of churches right now. For variuos reasons.
    I was having a hard time forgiving someone who had really injured me, and this woman told me I had to be more forgiving than God. Didn’t satan want to be above God. How can I be more forgiving than God?
    There are a lot of liberal churches where I live and people are less self righteous; but then some of them don’t even believe things like the virgin birth, or the resurrection?
    I’m sorry about what happened to your daughter. I’ve had some terrible first times in trying out churches. I admit I’ve given up for now..

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  16. Bob

     /  July 22, 2014

    A house divided will not stand. Some people are addicted to sin and some are addicted to pointing out other people’s sins. Jesus told us not to be either one. Neither go to the left nor to the right. I’m sorry to hear that yet again another self-righteous, self-centered, narrow-minded person has blessed us all with their wisdom. The main thing I’ve seen in the church today is a great divide between the religious and the liberal in the church. Satan knows if he can make a joke out of the church and have it be nothing other than a war and a headgame, he has won. I’ve seen mocking, scoffing and head games among the protestants too often, (or a total lack of concern about anything for that matter) rather than to show a holy reverence and to respect someone even if they don’t meet what some would call church standards. Well news flash. . . all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, if we keep our focus on God and pray in Jesus’ name . . . then we can break thru all of this non-sense. Souls are dying everyday but people in the church, and too many of them, are focused on what he said or she did and many more of us are content to not say a word and at least feel like we are the peaceful ones why the others fight. I think the woman who commented about your daughter’s pot smoking incident failed to see how brave and sincere your daughter really is to even seek the Lord. Tell her to go to any highschool dance or the average gathering of young people these days and if she can find more than a few who even consider God and who don’t in fact hate God and who aren’t blinded by their brainwashed intolerance for Christianity then she would be doing good. I really believe that a good solution for all of the judgement and games going on in the church today is to go out into the world every Sunday as a body of believers and hold church by praying for the people and talking with them and then concluding by having a sermon and prayer together. Who knows maybe we would even be persecuted . . . would we stand for that? After all did Jesus find a synagogue to park his holy buns in for 3 years? Did the John the Baptist sit quietly with the people in synagogue and not say a word because so many of them were already saved? The answer would be no of course. Jesus went out to the people and to as many as who would receive him. Now we build our ivory towers and keep ourselves occupied with feeling and looking good all too often . . . and not everyone does that but it’s obvious too much of that is going on . . . besides if we let too many sinners into the church what would come of it? Sorry for my cynical rant but I have experienced bringing people to church who really needed to find the Lord and later some of the church members felt the need to tell me that person has a devil but none of them offered any encouragement or prayer for them or me. It was a how dare U bring them here attitude, and what’s wrong with U if U would hang around people like that? God wants individuals who spend time alone with him and allow his Holy Spirit to perfect them . . . we humans can’t perfect ourselves even by following every letter of the law . . . how will we perfect others? After we have spent time alone with God and praying in Jesus’ name for all of our own flaws and needs then are we fit to come together and even open our mouths to one another. . . . “Jesus went to lonely places” ( one of my favorite bible verses because it tells us he had to get away from the “crowd” and all of their nonsense to spend time alone with his Father in spirit and in truth).

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