Years ago before I owned my dads business and was working for my dad I invited a coworker to come to church. His response ” Are you ******* kidding me…if I stepped in that church God would strike me with lightning. I will never forget that moment. The crazy thing is there are so many people both in and out of the “church” that feel the same way.
Why do so many people feel that way? I myself many years into my journey with God felt the same way as my coworker. I had come from a background of drugs and alcohol and those were no longer an issue but the cigarettes still were. The question now I ask myself is why did I consider them an “issue”? Was it because I had a preconceived idea of what a “Christian” was supposed to do and look like or was it because I know that my body was created in Gods image and I am a temple of the holy spirit? Why did I feel like I had to keep it a secret from people in the church? Why do any of us keep things we are ashamed of secret? I truly believe that it is a tactic of the enemy to keep us feeling guilty and condemned about our hidden addictions which then keeps us from being able to live out our faith to the fullest.
One day I went up to a guy who was someone I looked up to in the church and told him I had something I needed to share. ” I am a smoker…I smoke a pack a day”….. His response was…”So What… Dude God doesn’t look at you any different then if you didn’t smoke…he loves you the same regardless”. I was kind of shocked and in the same time relieved. Just the thought of that love and freedom did not make me say awesome I can do whatever I want but it made me want to quit even more. When we look at Jesus and who he was and who he hung out with it very often was the hurting and broken. As a parent It breaks my heart when my kids do something that will hurt them or cause them pain and I can’t help but think that is how our father in heaven is towards us.
Come As You Are has been the slogan of our local church for many years. I think back to that time with my coworker and hear that slogan. So you are an alcoholic and addicted to everything under the sun… COME AS YOU ARE. So you are cheating on your spouse and living a complete lie….. COME AS YOU ARE. I could list any situation and the father still is inviting you to him. We are all broken people in need of Gods love and to think that people wont come to God because they think they need to be perfect could not be further from the truth. Back when I was in my worst when my grandma invited me to church I was as far from God as anyone could get and yet he loved me and called me to him. COME AS YOU ARE…..he loves us in our weakness and struggles.
I hate the fact that people outside of the church look at Christians as Judgmental and non loving. As Christians we are called to help the hurting not call them out for what we think they are doing wrong. God hates Anger. God hates lying. God hates us having idols. The list can go on and on. God hates SIN not the SINNER and guess what….we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) but because of Christ can have freedom!
The crazy thing is people think the bible is a bunch of rules and God is a killjoy when in actuality he puts those things in place to protect us from the repercussions of them….that is another blog for another day. The bottom line is no matter where you are at and however dark, perverse, bad, horrible thing you are hiding and is keeping you from a relationship from God he wants you to COME TO HIM AS YOU ARE because HE LOVES YOU WHERE YOU ARE AT!