One of the biggest critiques I’ve heard about Christians is that they don’t like the church. Why? Because the Christians they’ve met are closed-minded, judgemental, and non-inclusive.
And you know what? It’s true.
It’s not even a comment made by only non-Christians. It’s an observation made by other Christians (and other church-goers), who have left the church. Most have been on the receiving end of narrowmindedness, judgement, and exclusivity in the social ladder that has become the church.
This makes me really upset for two reasons. The first is because it’s disheartening to see other people who have taken on the name of “Christ-follower” only to tarnish the meaning. We are supposed to emulate Christ in his selflessness, love, and inclusivity.
The second reason is because it’s clear that people don’t see that, beneath it all, Christians are human. We’re human. We have flesh and bones and struggle with jealousy, pride, hatred, and idolatry. Our problem is that because we also call ourselves “children of God”, we allow others to hold ourselves to a higher standard. And frankly, we should be held to a higher standard.
Sinful behaviour is not encouraged by God, but it is by Satan, and I think that as Christians, we’ve let Satan into our churches because he’s found a way to wriggle into our hearts. He lies by promising power and success, telling us that we don’t get ahead by lifting others up.
But I think, worst of all, the most powerful lies Satan has for us relate to us protecting ourselves. He places these lies in our heads to fester before we act on them. Ignore them before they ignore you. Or, You’re never going to find friends/love, so don’t trust people. Or, They probably think that they’re better than you anyway. He breeds distrust and resentment and breaks up relationships between people.
I’m not saying to not be cautious of other people. Lord knows that people in church have been hurtful in my own life, and I’ve had to exercise caution. Of course, be cautious. Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Guard your heart. Protect it from people who’ve hurt you.
But most of all, protect your heart from Satan. That’s who the real culprit is. Because we’re all just human, anyway.