Many years ago while ministering in Mississippi I vividly recall after pouring my heart out in a very powerful teaching being told by a man that I was going to hell because I wore a red tie. I remember just shaking my head in disbelief that someone would be so hung up over a tie that they missed the message being taught.
Another time I remember a man approaching me before the meeting started and being told I was going to hell because I was wearing cowboy boots. I asked the gentleman what difference my foot attire had to do with salvation and I thought he was going to smack me. He looked me square in the eyes and said if I didn’t know, that was proof I was absolutely going to hell.
When I was a teenager I remember going to church one Sunday evening with a friend of mine. The preacher spent the whole sermon yelling and screaming how every single Catholic was going to hell because of their religion. I remember telling one of my friends down the block I couldn’t see him anymore because he was Catholic.
It is truly tragic how fixated people are on things that have absolutely no bearing on our eternal destiny. It is truly tragic how some stereotype an entire denomination as wicked. No wonder so many Christians are so confused, hard and unpleasant. When they are taught over and over again by their leaders to judge others according to the flesh, it will breed a very ugly side of our faith.
Many years ago I was denied entrance to a church service because I was not wearing a tie and sport coat. I was told that anyone who really loved and respected God would wear their very best clothes to worship Him each week. Another time I was denied communion because I was not a member of the denomination conducting the service. To this day I have to little cross I was forced to wear proving I was not worthy of partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
Where and how do Christians come up with these trivial and worthless things? Certainly it does not come from reading about Jesus and how he did things. Jesus did not look on the outward appearance of the people He ministered to but rather their heart.
Christians have told me I am full of the spirit of rebellion because I refuse to conform to their ridiculous rules regarding being a “good Christian”. Christians have told me that I am nothing but a failure because I am not prosperous and have a whole host of physical ailments. Christians have judged me time and again as a lazy bum because I am a big man whom they assume must sit around watching television and eating candy all day long.
Why must we be so quick to judge each other? Why must we be so self- righteous and pious that we look down our noses at anyone who does not measure up to our standards? Why are we so shallow that we cannot see past how a person looks, speaks or lives to what is or is not in their heart?
Judging, condemning and rejecting people never helps them see the heart of God and receive the Gospel. Wearing blue ties and tennis shoes is no guarantee a person is going to heaven. Being a member of a particular denomination does not automatically mean a person is saved. Spending all our time bashing the beliefs of each other is a waste of time and never helps anyone.
I wish I had the answer to the reason we judge. Far to many have been hurt inside the church walls because of the assumptions made.
I have been called a witch, what you might ask was my offense. I spoke about things not in their doctrine. A man made doctrine but the things I was speaking freely about were of the Bible. The comment cut me so deeply that I help myself back from getting involved in any other church for many years.
Others have judged my husband and myself because we dont really fit any specific Christian mold. When asked if we are interested in becoming members to a specific denomination I politely smile telling them that I am already a member! I have been ransomed by the Blood of Jesus Christ that makes me a member of the Body. well most don't know what to think or even say.
I dont mean to be an outside of the box thinker it is just who I am. I do not believe the way someone dresses can get them to heaven any quicker than the next. I do not believe one denomintaion has any better chance of Salvation than the other. It really comes down to our heart. How scary would it be if we all walked around looking like our heart was... Now there is a thought.
God Bless and thank you for your inspired messages!
If we create a measuring stick in which we "measure up" and justify it as proof that we "know the way" , then we extinguish any doubt, in our own minds, that we have done it all and we have a guarantee for our eternity. Yet that stick is of our own making...what fools we are.
Jesus said that we'd be known by our fruit. Unfortunately, people have come up with their own definition of what fruit looks like. Perhaps instead of worrying so much about what someone is or is not doing, (according to us for we don't see the heart now do we) our time would be much better spent in lifting up one another in prayer. It has been my experience that the Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of thumping someone's heart when there is a problem and most of the time, to tell you the truth, He doesn't use someone else as a mouthpiece unless it is to confirm what He has already told someone.
I'm fat, I smoke and I take anti-depressants. All would disqualify me as a Christian in the view of some. However, I was born-again by the Spirit and believe the gospel of Christ. My problem is with those that preach some other gospel, not delivered to the saints.
GOD is the only judge we need to concern ourselves with. HE judges the heart, not appearances or what the world says. i appreciate your blog. We need to focus inwardly not outwardly.