A few weeks ago, i overheard a neighbor of mine talking with my hubby outside the house when he went to pick something from the car. Their discussion seemed to have lingered for so long that i wondered if he remembered that we were running late for service; after some time i had to go out dressed to say hi to the neighbor so my hubby could see he was the one delaying us; and sure, he got the message 🙂
We got talking afterwards and i wondered what kept the man’s voice up and made him talk so passionately and he said the guy said he had since stopped going to church because many “men of God” were living false lives. He said he had run into some of them with their secretaries or some lady in hotels and so on; he spoke about misappropriation of funds, the fact that some members were practicing idolatry because they accorded too much awe to their pastors who wielded/had too much control over them, etc. He therefore said he decided not to go to church anymore, but to always practice the principle of always being thankful to God.
Do you know what struck me most about what this man said? It’s not so much different from what many Christians say as well. Many people are critical. It’s not necessarily because they’re sinless/faultless, but because of the need to justify their inadequacies in the face of a worse person’s issues. Such a man had no business being critical/judgmental; what if the man of God he saw at the hotel came for a meeting in the hotel lobby and not what he thought? What if it was what he thought? What if those men of God were fake? Same for Christians; we need to look at Jesus’ approach to sinners, he addressed the sin but showed compassion. It’s tough, but it’s the life we’ve been called to live. We grow as Christians when we see ourselves as work in progress and correct people in love. Of course, there are times when you need to go the hard way on some. But our motivation should be love, not nosing around for people’s faults and criticizing them. Jesus showed us by example; these same things were the things the Pharisees, who knew the bible, did by default, criticize! And we all do it, in different measures.
I once heard about a Muslim guy who got saved and started attending a church only for him to one day, find the pastor of the church on top of his fiancée! That same day, he renounced Christ and went back to the mosque…hmm. That was a very sad story. Does it change God’s standards? He’ll need to have a chat with God about that when the time comes. Does the wrongdoing of the Christian leader license us to misbehave? We’ll stand one by one with God, and he’ll deal with us individually based on the level/degree of our walk with him vs what we made out of it as regards the quality of life we lived.
Can we be less critical on others and work on becoming better? Can we seize from giving excuses of other people’s issues as the reason why we’re not at our best? Are we qualified to throw the first stone? Are we qualified to judge?
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