Proverbs 28:1 - The wicked flee when no one is pursuing them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
My friend suddenly stopped coming to church. I reached out to him several times before he finally called back to say that he would no longer be attending church. He was honest in confessing that he was engaged in a particular sinful activity but felt that no one had the right to judge him for his actions. He went on to explain that when he came to church, he felt bad about himself, so his solution was to stop coming to church.
Many people in our society have adopted the same approach as my friend. The problem with this approach is that dropping out of church does not address the behavior that brought out the negative feelings to begin with. Regardless of what our culture may say, there are some behaviors that are right and some that are wrong. Simply avoiding people, or groups, who may point those wrong things out will not solve our problem. That is like a person with a heart condition refusing to go to the doctor out of fear of what the doctor may say. If the condition goes on long enough without treatment, the result is not going to be positive and the treatment for the condition will be much more invasive than it could have been if it had been addressed earlier. The same is true when we have poor behavior in our lives that we have not addressed. Eventually we will reap the consequences of that behavior. By the time all those consequences finally hit us, it may cost us far more than we ever intended to pay. In essence, our fear of minor judgment eventually causes us to experience much more significant judgment because we have not dealt with our sinfulness.
Perhaps it is time to start re-examining our opinion of church. Obviously there are some overly judgmental churches that may not help us be healthy. But there are many churches that understand that in our human weakness we made bad choices and now we are trying to fix those issues. Those churches will walk with us through the journey until we get where we need to be. They will not tell us that all of our behavior is acceptable, but we already know that. But they will remind us that God loves us in spite of our behavior and that He will help us become the person we always wanted to be. It is time for us to overcome our fear of judgment and start dealing with the baggage in our lives. We are going to need the help of other people to do that. That is what church is all about. It is a group of sinners encouraging one another to be transformed into the image of Christ. There may be some painful moments in the short term as our sinfulness is exposed, but the joy that comes from godly living will be worth it.
Lord, help us examine our own hearts so that we can be in right relationship with You. Do not let our fear of judgment cause us to flee the very thing that can change our lives. Amen.
This post is an excerpt from the book, The Heavenly Mundane: Daily Devotions from Ordinary Experiences. Filled with stories of how God spoke in big ways through small events, the book will encourage people to look for God in the mundane things of life. Great for both personal use and to give as a gift to friend, either the print version or the e-book version may be purchased at this link: