Pierre and I have been visiting some different churches lately. I think the best answer I could give you for why we are doing that is because for my writing, I want to see how different churches are functioning, what’s working, what’s not, what new ideas are being implemented, etc. Anyways, recently we attended one service and of course it just happened to be Communion Sunday.
As the pastor went up to announce this, it seemed as if he was looking right at me when he said, “If you do not have a relationship with Christ, please do not participate.” I remember feeling so offended, he didn’t know me, he didn’t know where I was at in my faith! I was thinking to myself, “I’m definitely not coming here anymore,” when God stopped me and said, “Why are you so offended? He’s doing his job.”
How often do we get offended in our own churches? How often do we ask people not to judge us? And yet, we’re supposed to. As Christians we are held accountable to judging those within the church, in turn this means we need to invite judgement onto ourselves.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you — unless, of course, you fail the test?
As that pastor was doing his job by judging those within his congregation and teaching them the importance of communion, I should’ve been encouraged rather than offended by his efforts. I should have taken his comment to heart and really evaluated my faith in that moment rather than seek to escape.
I invite you to take a moment right now to evaluate your faith. Have you felt a call to read more, to pray more, to serve more? How will you put a plan in place to get there?
I think we get so offended because sadly, the practice of judging those with in the church is not an exercised habit in today’s culture. We are very private people and we want to keep it that way. We don’t want to share our struggles and our temptations and we don’t want anyone to ask about them either. We want to put our best foot forward but in doing so, we don’t realise that instead of building up the church and inviting others into it, we’re driving them away and isolating ourselves within its walls.
How will I be kept accountable to my faith if I am my only accountability partner?
I think people get the wrong impression when it comes to the word “judgement.”
We hear verses like…
Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
and we think we are not supposed to judge…EVER. And yet, Jesus was the one who uttered the words we find in Matthew and by doing so He was judging them, if we were not supposed to judge, Jesus would be guilty and Jesus was without sin. So how then do we judge others? Jesus gave us the answer in Matthew 7:5, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” As Christians, we are to judge others, but we need to invite judgement onto ourselves first. Also, when we judge others, it needs to be done at God’s prompting and through His love. In other words, we can’t do it on our own, that’s the ‘wrong’ kind of judging.
1 Corinthians 5:12-13
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”
Jesus even gives us an instruction manual for handling sin within the church!
Dealing With Sin in the Church
“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
How is your church dealing with the ongoing sin within its walls? Is it noticeable that something is being done about it? How can we deal with it more effectively? I’d love to hear your thoughts!