Just something to make you guys think a little bit. ;)

Dark clouds rose over the once blue sky as the church gathered for Sunday's service. Hundreds of faces, weary and empty, filled the pews of the somewhat lifeless sanctuary. The large band started sorting through chord charts as the choir hummed their scales quietly. Everything was about to begin, and the pastor shook hands with the many people. It was a typical Sunday. Or, so you would guess.

Greeters stood at the front doors, shaking hands and welcoming many new comers. There were several among the normal crowd. Though they wore joyful expressions, you could see the unease they felt by the piercing look of their eyes. Each visitor felt the judgment like a knife through their heart.

One man in particular, caught the men by surprise. And they had no intent of letting him past. "I'm sorry, sir, but you cannot come into this place." The stranger, a tall, bulky figure with deep blue eyes stared at them with a puzzling shock he had never felt before. He wore a bandanna over his face, but you could plainly see the outline of his open mouth through the thin, wrinkled cloth.

"Excuse me?" He asked in reply. The greeter, who had now regained his composure, looked him directly in the eye. "You see, sir," he started. "This is a house of worship and glory to the Lord. We must look presentable before His mighty throne, don't you agree? And, well," He paused awkwardly. "I'm afraid you are by no means presentable this day. Perhaps if you washed up in the creek nearby, you will be well enough for tonight's service?" He spoke with a pretend courtesy that could be marked as so by anyone within the place.

The stranger looked down at his threadbare garments. His shoes were scuffed and his pants had holes. His shirts were patched from yesteryear and his hair was matted. His jacket was torn in two places, and he smelled like he hadn't showered in three weeks. However, he never thought that the God he had heard of would care.

"Sir," he replied, coolly. "Are you saying that my wanting to worship depends on my outward appearance?" The greeter looked him back. "I said no such thing." "Then why can I not come in here?" Now annoyed, he closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. "I'm sorry, sir. But you just cannot come in here. I will kindly see you to your vehicle, however."

The man looked on with a blank expression, though you could hear tones of disappointment and sorrow in his voice. "No... No thank you. I do not own a vehicle, and I do not need to be seen out. I will go on my own." He faced away from the man towards the great unknown about him, but turning back, he added, "God bless you, sir."

With this the greeters looked at each other, closed the doors, and went in the sanctuary for the beginning service.

A pianist began playing a simple, yet, beautiful melody at that moment. The choir sang softly;

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, twas blind, but now, I see."

Tears filled many a member's eyes as they did so. It reminded many of their past, or, of their present. Perhaps even of their future. No one knew for certain. And all went on smoothly from there. The choir continued to sing songs of love and forgiveness. Mercy and compassion. Being a lost sinner who was found and freed by the power of God's grace. It was a mostly good start. However, then the song service ended, and the pastor walked up to the pulpit.

Offering was taken and a small prayer said, but his demeanor made the crowd uneasy. His tense, stiff moves implied that he was about to start a sermon that would make the skin crawl.

"Evil," he began quickly. "Evil is among us." He glanced around the room at the many people. "This is the house of the Lord. We cannot have darkness in the presence of light, can we?"

"No!" Shouted the people.

Now, think of every phrase as a snap. And every snap as two more people gone. He continued. "The Bible says that we are in this world, but not of this world. Amen?" "Amen!"

"But, what does that mean? What does it mean to be in the world but not of the world? Does it mean dancing and goofing off like every other teenager in this world? NO!"

Snap.

Two gone.

"Does it mean cutting and coloring our hair to make us look like we're from another planet like every other person? NO!"

Snap.

Two more.

"Does it mean going and getting marked with the devil's ink just so we can look 'cool' and 'hip' in front of our friends? NO!"

Snap.

Two more.

This went on for quite some time. The more into his sermon he got, the more aggressive he got, and the more oblivious he was to the fact of, snap. Two more.

Little by little the sanctuary emptied. More and more tears were shed, and more and more hearts were broken. The sad thing was that no one moved. No one dared to make a difference. And the clock ticked on.

In the back row, there was a young woman with three small children beside her. They were fussy and a bit restless as the hours dragged along. Their clothes were baggy and too large for them, and patches covered what wasn't completely thread bear. Their hair was messy and knotted as if they had just rolled out of bed. Mothers who sat with their young ones around her quietly, or not so, scoffed at her. Rebuking how her children behaved, and how she 'wasn't fit to be a mother'.

Painful tear drops slid down her pale face as every last word stabbed her heart. No one knew that she was really a poor widow trying to raise three children in the basement of an innkeeper. No one knew how she was trying to work two jobs while still taking care of her children. And no one knew how she had had to sell the last memoirs of her deceased parents and husband, whom had just been killed in the army not five months before. No one knew, and probably no one cared. All they knew was what she looked on the outside, not what she was on the inside.

Finally, it was too much for her to take. She had been scarred enough. And with that, she took up her children and things and disappeared into the shadowed hallways.

About an hour had passed since that, and more and more visitors disappeared from the scene. The pastor was too caught up in his own words to even notice. He continued to harp on the church's laws and doctrine.

"The Bible says that, 'Thou shalt not make thyself in the appearance of a man.' That is, in so many words. So what does that mean? It means those who call themselves 'Christian' and still walk around in pants are sinning! Right?" "Right!"

Snap.

Two more.

"We are not apart of this world. And let me ask you, church. What does that make 'Christian rap' and 'Christian rock'? False advertising! It's slapping a godly title on the devil's music and calling it good! Lies are suppose to look as much as the truth as possible. And let me tell you, God's people. THIS is lies!"

Snap.

Two more.

"And let's not forget the heretics around us who call themselves Christians and yet listen to the rock and the rap. They wear their makeup and their pants, and dance around like a bunch of demon possessed monsters. You've got your Pentecostals and your Baptists and Your Catholics and..."

Snap.

Two more.

"And, do not even get me started on..." And it continued, time crawled by. Every tick of the clock echoed in the ears of those among the crowd. Those who hadn't judged had been judged, and those who had searched had not found. Hundreds had been dropped to tens, and time seemed still as cold words condemned those in and around the church.

Snap.

Two more.

Snap.

Two more.

Snap.

Two more.

The expressions remained empty, and the voices silent. No one looked back on the flood of lost sheep going astray from the truth. That is, what was supposed to be the truth.

As the pastor listed his dos and don'ts, most being false don'ts taken out of context, more and more pews became empty. More and more tears fell. And more and more people looked on as if nothing ever happened. The scene was a shadowed portrait of the shallowness of their hearts.

A completely reckless storm on the sea of Christianity.

                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The clouds parted a bit and a ray of sunlight beamed down the alleyway. The warmth of the sun felt wonderful after the dark and chilly weather had gone on for so long. A crowd of people gathered around discussing the previous events.

These weren't ordinary people, though. Two by two the strangers that had been tossed aside as hopeless in a building of lies, grouped together in the shadows.

"I just cannot believe it..." One spoke up above the rest. "Persecuted within the church..." "It's just like when the church first began, remember," another replied. "The church has always been this way at one point or another." "Still." Was the disturbed reply.

"The sad thing was how many people actually got kicked out or judged out. I felt very bad for them." "I know, I felt it too." "Well what are we to do?"

"Nothing." Came a voice from behind the crowd. It was the man from the greeter incident. He still looked as before, same wrinkled clothes and matted hair. "We are to do nothing."

"But, I do not understand... We are to do nothing but watch as the church practically digs a detoured path to hell?" The man then removed his bandanna, his expression solemn and steaks from dried tears lined his face. He looked away for just a moment.

Then, suddenly, a bright light flashed about the pathway, bouncing off both the walls and floor. Even the clouds seemingly. There was a sudden pause as the light faded away. The strangers who were once were no longer that, but those of heaven. Several angels gathered about, and spread their wings. Disciples, angels, and those God had once used for great importance all stood there in that simple, quiet alleyway.

Among them that were speaking were Mary, Paul, Mark, Luke, and John the Baptist. They were distressed to see what they had first believed to get better. But, that was not all.

The stranger who had once been denied access to worship the Father, and turned away from the very church that had sang of loving and forgiving all, was the very one and only Son Himself, Jesus Christ.

No longer did He wear rags or patches, but His robe of light and glory. Yet, His face still wore the lines and His expression the same. He sighed, "The ones who claim to be of light and are of darkness, the ones who preach man-made rules instead of my word, and the ones who dare turn away the lost; they will soon see their judgment, as they have judged."  He closed His eyes.

"These...These are the times of the lost. The days of rebellion, and self-living. The church... They have replaced My grace for a fictitious superiority. They have replaced My love for a restrictive hate. They have replaced the price I paid with a greed for worldliness. They have replaced My hand with a temporary hold. They have replaced My law with false doctrine. They have replaced My path for the path of wickedness. My light for darkness, My truth for lies. And soon they will pay. Deny Me before their fellow man, and I will deny them before My Father. Turn away and I will turn them away. Shut their doors, and I will shut mine. Until they can stop judging and condemning among the body, this will be My will."

All went silent for a moment. Thoughts of how, if they had truly been people, like the real people that they had indeed turned away, imagine what opportunities they could have just stopped within a seconds' choice.

One man could have accepted Christ and quit a drinking addiction. He could have then become a missionary and reached 3000 native tribes in Africa. Another woman could have accepted Christ and go on to reach 10,000 people in Asia with a husband to which she could have been true to. Another lady could have accepted Christ just before getting in a car accident, or maybe another man could have planted a church somewhere in the mountains. Maybe a woman could have helped save her friend at the deathbed. Even one life saved is precious in God's eyes.

                                                                 But no.

They were too busy fighting and judging among themselves to reach out. When the lost ones reached out from the dark, they drew their hands back in ignorance. They bickered about themselves, even if it was just within their very beings. The war of faiths never ceased, and true faith had gotten slashed upon the rocks of reality.

And now those who could have been saved, whether they were of them or of the actual ones turned away, might never hear the name of Jesus now, all because of prejudice in the hearts of the church.

                                            ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sadly, this is a big part of the church today. Most any denomination, any organization. They condemn anyone outside their own. And anyone who is on the outside and tries to come in is judged as a hopeless sinner. A black sheep among the flock.

They put a list of their church's and/or organization's do's and don'ts, and don'ts, and don'ts up in a big book and then teach that this is the truth and the way to get to heaven...
                                                            But it isn't.

Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one gets to the father but by Me." However, a lot of times Christians add tag-alongs to what the way truly is. They take scripture out of context, or add their own rules and reasoning and pick and choose what they want and don't want for their church.

They hold their church/religion/denomination/organization is the one and only way, and if you are not apart of that way and/or do not abide to every church law, then you are not a true Christian.

Sin is sin, yes. Wrong is wrong. But there is a difference between wrong, and false testimony. You see, being a Christian doesn't mean losing your life. It's not a prison that if you break a rule of church doctrine or something, we'll go directly to hell. God isn't like that. Follow His word, not someone's preferences. There are false teachers out there. I will be the first to say that. But, just because someone's personal convictions are different than another doesn't make them of a false faith.

They condemn the outside world instead of reaching out to them. We are to witness to the ends of the earth. But, if we are constantly judging and condemning instead of reaching out to those who are so lost, how will anyone ever get saved?

I understand that we all have differences and will never believe the same exact things. But what bothers me the most is when people condemn and judge and hold everything against his brother in Christ when he should be encouraging and showing brotherly love to him.

If you feel like someone is on the wrong path, don't judge them and turn them away. Reach out to them, guys. Seriously, love reaches out, it does not draw back. So do so in remembrance of what God did for you.

Yes, again wrong is wrong. Apart from His word, we do not know the exact way. And even then, everyone seems to interpret verses differently. But, think. We are not our own judge. That is the job of the Father. In the end times He will tell us what was right or wrong in our beliefs, and he will be the one who says what. Not us. Until then, we just have to keep moving on and getting along together. As one body. The body of Christ.

If you feel like you should not wear pants or makeup or something, that's fine. There is nothing wrong with that. The difference is... That is a personal conviction, not a Biblical fact. Don't press personal convictions as truth and then condemn those who don't follow it. That's the bases that most churches thrive on. And it's wrong. I'm sorry, but it is.  

Learn to love, not to hate. We are all a part of the body of Christ. In the end, most of us will end up in Heaven together in the end. That includes Protestants, Catholics, Pentecostal, Baptists, Methodists, Church of Christ, all of them. I mean it. We all believe in a central truth. Jesus Christ. And as long as we believe in him, and what He did and does and continues doing for us, then we will always be apart of that one main faith. Disagree? Probably. But as for me, I think I'd rather love a brother than judge a brother.

I probably have some crazy, out there beliefs, sure. Maybe no one in the world agrees with me. But I'll stand true to my word. I love calling all of these guys my brothers and sisters in Christ. ^_^

Thanks for reading all.

~Sam

~Just something to think about...What if the person you judged last really was Jesus in disguise?~

 


Comments


Your comment will be posted after it is approved.


Leave a Reply

    Sam:

    Young reader, writer, and all around dreamer.

    Categories

    All


The Sam Side