Luke 6, verses 37-42 are rather commonly known verses as far as Scripture is concerned.  In them Christ advises His followers, us included, about the importance of not judging other people and about the hypocrisy that comes with pointing out the faults of other without first examining our own hearts.   This is a common problem that many people in our churches struggle with.  I also contend it is one of the single biggest problems that the church faces in this generation.  I have the privilege to talk to a lot of people about their church experiences, or lack thereof.   While some people say they do not go to church because they work or because they choose to rest, a decent number of people cite hypocrisy within the church as being the driving force that keeps them away.  While some may just use that as an excuse to not attend church, as a way to justify their inaction, to others it is a very real concern.   It kept me away from church most of my teenage and college years.
 
I was raised Catholic and in the Catholic faith there is a “rite of passage” called a Holy Communion that is for young people coming up through the church.   There were certain requirements, which I had met.  When it came time for me to take that step, the priest informed our family I would not be allowed because our family did not tithe enough.  My disappointment spread to anger as my mind equated churches with being out for money.  While in some cases, this may be true and it is the equally damaging aspect of judgment that keeps people away.   When I say that I am not talking about the judgement to be levied by our Almighty God.  Some may think they can hide from that but we will all be judged, Christians and non-Christians alike.  What I am referring to, however, is the judgment people fear from people within the church, should their sin ever be known.  There are people who are afraid to go to church.   This is not because of what God thinks of them because he knows our every transgression, but because they are fearful of being looked down upon by other church members for what they have done.
 
If this is the message that the body of Christ is sending whether it be through actions, words or even looks, then we ought to check ourselves to make sure we are indeed setting the best Godly example.  Romans 3:10-12 tells us:   as it is written:“None is righteous, no, not one; 11  no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;  no one does good, not even one.”  This is of paramount importance.   Every single one of us has sinned and continue to sin against an amazing, wonderful and glorious God.   People often see the church as being full of hypocrites who judge or will judge them the moment they do something wrong, when in actuality the church is full of sinners as well.  Brothers and sisters, this ought not be so.   As the church we are called upon to set the example Christ has set.  Be loving, compassionate and forgiving.  Help people with their sinful struggles.  Lift each other up in prayer. Live the life that Christ died for us to live and, in doing so, try to help people see the Truth.
 
2 Timothy 2:23-26 states our purpose well:  24 And the Lord’s servante] must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
 
Did you catch that last part?  May we as the church lovingly and gently speak the Truth and in doing so, through God’s will,  show them what it means to, not only be a believer in Christ, but a full fledged follower
 
May God Bless You All.
 
Pastor Jeremy

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