Today, I was discussing with a friend and he was complaining bitterly about a particular church/fellowship where there are a lot of, in his words, dirty and unclean people. According to him, it was disgusting to see harlots, liars, murderers (abortion experts), cheats and all sorts in church; only the righteous should attend service. After listening to his bitter outburst for some minutes, I asked him a simple question, “where would you rather see them? Why would they need to come to church if they were already saints?”Unfortunately, many of us have the same parochial inclinations as my friend. We seem to quickly judge and determine who should, and shouldn’t, come to church. Look, let me sound this clearly: you wouldn’t need God if you were already perfect.
I remember a friend of mine who was ostracized by the church simply because he was a cultist. Whilst the young man was seeking redemption, the church saw a no-good fellow and immediately he was sent packing, he went back to his former life and became worse.
Excuse me, your job is not to judge sinners because you are no different! Your duty is not to determine who should worship in church. Your duty is to pray for those criminals you don’t want to see. Don’t pray that they do not come to church; pray for the redemption of their souls. These people, that you and I call criminals, should find succour in the church. They keep going back because instead of setting them on the right path, we condemn them.
So when that harlot comes to church, show her some love. When that chronic smoker and fervent drunk shows up in church, don’t sit 50 kilometres away. When that brother, or that sister, who shouldn’t ordinarily be in God’s presence, comes to lift join you in lifting up holy hands, don’t despise him or her. By the way, who told you that you are better? Are you gloating because you commit less grievous offences than they do? Are you better than Jesus Christ who flowed with the scum of the society?
Perhaps you don’t know that many of these “bad guys” actually know they are doing the wrong things. All they need is someone to make them feel loved and not condemned; someone to tell them why they should stop that bad thing. After all, we all needed someone to come preach to us before we turned new leaves. What if that someone had taken the judgmental stand? Where would you be by now? In the church or on the streets?
So make up your mind today! What would you do? Show love and help restore a lost soul, or condemn and cost God a precious soul?
We need criminals in church. Not saints.
Writer: Emmanuel Ujiadughele