Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Meet me where I am
This is an example of where the elements on the page didn't talk to me about anything. I liked them well enough - they're circles after all :) - but they didn't spark any particular thoughts. So I wrote about what was on my mind.
First of all, I would like to say 'Sorry' to all those of you out there who have been hurt by Christians who have wanted you to be perfect before you even begin to go to church. It happens. We are all guilty of judging, and I'm truly sorry. We are all of us flawed, but we have a huge capacity for comparing our flaws against others' and finding ourselves 'better' than them. That's just plain wrong. We all look the same at the foot of the cross.
My husband leads a church that is not your run-of-the-mill, middle-class church full of professional and retired people. We have a high percentage of people with mental health problems, addictions, tattoos and piercings. In other words, the people who haven't been made to feel welcome in many places including other churches. We have learned to meet people where they are. Some of them have what would be classed as obvious sins in some circles, but we have come to an understanding that you have to meet people where they are and look at how far they have come and in what direction they're moving. For example, there is a high percentage of smokers in this church. I know that some Christians would class that as sinful, an addiction, enslavement, and of course it's not ideal. However, when you see that they have come through alcoholism and are now sober; they have kicked a drug habit; they have moved from homelessness to holding down a job; they have been healed from the hurts of the past that had led to destructive behaviours; they no longer hear voices; and sometimes more than one of these; then you cannot help but see that God is at work. So who are we to judge? God is merciful and works on one thing at a time. For some people their smoking habit is the least of their troubles.
So meet people where they are, love them, and help them to continue to move in the right direction.
Meet people where they are, recognise and rejoice with them about how far they have already come, and allow them to live in the expansive healing hand of God rather than in the constraints of your judgement.