There’s nothing worse, is there? No one likes being preached at, no one likes being judged, no one likes to have a finger wagged at them. Christians have done a terrible job throughout most of our history avoiding this particular pothole—it is one that, unfortunately, it is all too easy to step into. For some reason, it is easier to feel better about ourselves if we can look down on someone else. It’s very human, but it’s not very Jesus.
Jesus didn’t get mad very often, but when he did, it was usually at religious hypocrites who were looking down on other folks. You’d think we’d clue into that and get our act together. Sigh…
The truth is that none of us have our act together. Not one of us actually measures up to this ideal image we have of ourselves in our heads. It causes us a lot of pain. What causes us even more pain is when we assume that God has that same ideal image of us, and is displeased or even angry when we don’t live up to it. Worst is when we project that image onto others and berate them for falling short.
This is a recipe for disaster. Both Jesus and Paul made it clear that none of us can live up to this impossible standard, and God doesn’t expect us to. If we expect it of each other, it can only mean trouble. Jesus said that we should pull the plank out of our own eye before pointing out the speck in someone else’s.
We try to remember this at Grace North Church. We try to love each other just as we are, and welcome everyone, no matter who they are, where they’ve been, or what they’ve done. Of course, we don’t do it perfectly, but we try. Please join us for worship sometime, we promise not to preach at you—only to you, speaking as we would like to be spoken to, with respect and compassion, and with a minimum of finger-pointing.