Dear Church Folks,
I’ve been wanting to write you for a very long time now but somehow I never got around to it. I guess it was The Lord wanting me to wait until I could reach your entire community. With all that’s going on in the world, I’m positive He kept me busy with other things until the timing was right. What better time than now? You all are on one of your quarterly religious kicks and you’re not going to pass up this post because you’re trolling the internet for anything that involves religion. So if an article uses church in the title…win! I should explain a few things before I get too deep.
Church folks are people who profess Christianity and go to great lengths to prove to the world that they are Christians, instead of focusing on people experiencing the love of God when they encounter them. Church folks are typically black but do come in white, especially in the southern part of the United States. Church folks like religion but lack spirituality. Church folks have a tendency to quote scriptures on their Facebook profile page to justify their hatred of certain ungodly things (while skipping other scriptures that make them hypocrites) but you never see them acknowledge any faults in their own lives. In fact, if you ask them, they don’t have any faults since they accepted Christ and became saved. They have a perfect Christian score…or have only committed sins that aren’t as serious as yours.
Church folks think that what you wear can send you to hell and they would rather go to church than practice the principles of the Bible. They think that reserving a pew in the sanctuary every Sunday will earn them a ticket to heaven and as soon as service is over, they speed dial their fellow church folks to criticize the pastor’s sermon because he didn’t cover same-sex marriage with a fiery speech to deliver the homosexuals. Church folks often have the same hang-ups that they criticize others for having and they have family members that they have ostracized because of their sins. Church folks don’t own the metaphorical mirror because, well, that would force them to take a look at themselves.
Are you a member of the church folk community? Wait…you aren’t going to be real with yourself so let me phrase it this way instead. If your toes got stepped on by the above paragraph, keep reading.
Church folks, if you don’t get anything else out of this letter, please understand this. You are doing the exact opposite of what God wants you to do for His Kingdom. I know you think that fear tactics work, and they can, but the results are usually only temporary. Once the person has conquered the fear, the tactic is no longer effective. You are turning people away from Christ instead of toward Him.
God is love and anything that is the opposite of love is hate, there are no grey areas or caveats. You can disapprove something without hating it. For example, I don’t approve of someone’s constant need to tell lies but I don’t hate them. I pray that they will understand how important telling the truth is and that God will touch their hearts and spark a desire to change. I also pray that I can be an example so that they see Christ in me and will want to be like Christ. I don’t throw it in their face and I don’t give up on them. I love them the way Christ loves me – unconditionally.
I’ll use a personal example. I was informed that I am not the nicest person by a few people that are closest to me. They said I do nice things and I have a good heart and truly mean well, but my attitude needs work. I got defensive because I disagree but I have to be open and understand that their opinions came from a place of love. They love me so much that they want me to be better and I could tell by the way that they brought it to my attention. They chose their words carefully, acknowledged my good qualities and offered some suggestions on how I can start having a better attitude. This is how change can take place. It’s all about the delivery, which is why I’m selecting my words with caution to deliver this message to you.
I’m not judging you for your ways because we all fall short of who God wants us to be all day everyday. No one walking this earth is perfect. I love you, believe me I do. Some of you are my family, my friends/associates and my business contacts. I feel a deep sadness because you don’t appear (again, an observation) to see the ways that the Devil has infiltrated your life. You may spend a lot of your time studying Jesus but have you ever studied Satan? He has some pretty slick tricks and will catch you up without you even realizing it if you aren’t aware of his ways. One of Satan’s favorite mechanisms of destruction is division. He starts with dividing people and from there, we are like putty in his hands.
Since you know the Bible pretty well, you should know that God uses all people for His glory. David was a murderer, Noah was a drunk, Jonah was a racist, Solomon was a player, Jacob was a schemer and the list goes on. God shows favor to us all and he uses everyone – the liar, the thief, the lesbian, the prostitute, the potty mouthed person, the gambler – and he also uses me and you (if none of the aforementioned traits covered us).
As Christians we are representatives of the Father. We are his customer service associates, a point of contact when there is trouble or a lack of understanding. Don’t rude, conclusion-jumping, demeaning customer service reps make you cringe? That’s how a person feels every time Church Folks grab the mic to speak on behalf of God. They cringe and their hearts become closed to His Word.
Church Folks, I have a challenge for you this week.
Every time you log onto Facebook to post a status or comment, think about someone exposing your deepest and darkest secrets, your imperfections or attacking you for something you are very sensitive about or something that you are trying to shake but need extra help and motivation to make a change. By doing that, you’re putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and showing empathy (compassion) toward them. That’s what it takes to build a relationship with someone that can lead to them giving their life to Christ and trusting Him to fill every void and carry them in the times that they are weak.
I pray that if we don’t agree on anything, we can agree to be the change that we want to see in the world. Deal?