Thursday I heard myself saying “ It would take an act of God to get me to regularly attend that church.” When questioned as to my passionate statement I explained that I knew first hand that the church ‘officials’ had presented a young woman with a letter decreeing she was no longer a member of that church, and thus no longer welcome to attend worship services with them. Her crimes were cited and she was asked to sign the letter in agreement that she would cease attendance there. I, having fully taken on the thoughts of our ‘doctrine’ do not believe in a membership to any one church or denomination. I believe when Christ died on the cross for us, He died for ALL of us, and when we accept this salvation, our names are written in the book of life. End of story. How can anyone pass judgement on another to the point of revoking their right to hear the gospel? How can this possibly line up with what God has called us to do – to share the good news? How can this church, these people think they have the right to make such a decision? How can they not see the broken heart, the lost spirit, the compelling young girl who longs simply for acceptance and love? How can they turn their backs so coldly and still call themselves Christians? How, How, How?
I was worked up. I was upset. I was beside myself with the audacity of the situation. NO, I WOULD NEVER be a regular attendee of such of congregation!
Friday morning I woke up at 5, began my bible study out of my daily devotional and found myself in Romans, reading chapter 14. And you know what I found? I found how wrong I WAS Thursday. I had been passing judgement on those whom I felt had no right to pass judgement. In my attempt to grasp the scripture, I had allowed anger to overcome my thoughts and cloud my judgement, leading me to commit the very sin I had been so mad at THEM for committing. What a hypocrite I was!
Romans 14 has an answer for this as well: verse 22 says “22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves.” And conversely Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he condemns. Each one of us must evaluate every aspect of life and make decisions about right and wrong, good and evil. verse 5 says “5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.” THEN verse 12 “So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.” Finally 23 directs “ But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.”
This is where I get the understanding that we must each decide for ourselves that which is holy and that which is sinful. We have a instruction manual in the bible, but we must use the brains – and other resources God gave us – to interpret the instructions. We will find as we grow in our faith, and our biblical knowledge, that our understanding will change. We will find errors in our thinking from before. We will find places where we were very wrong – tho we may have been basing our thoughts on scripture, or christian teaching. It’s all a matter of interpretation. We must be always open to a new perspective so as to prevent ourselves from falling into the trap of false understanding, to prevent ourselves from following false profits. To prevent ourselves from worshiping false idols. As soon as we think we know EXACTLY what the RIGHT answer is, this is when we should start asking questions, because it is quite possible our answers are what we want them to be, rather than what we know they should be, or what God wants us to see.