Is your church…and home…and heart…A judgment-free zone?

A few years back I joined Planet Fitness. It was conveniently located a few minutes away from my job and I would use my lunch break to fit in a short workout. I absolutely loved it. I always left feeling better than when I’d first come in, which is why I’m looking forward to continuing to make use of my Anytime Fitness membership, pregnant or not, for the time being.

Planet Fitness advertises itself as being a “judgment free zone”. The creators of this motto undoubtedly understood that a lot of people are not at their physical ideal best and need to be made to feel comfortable. Now, someone like me couldn’t care less if people eyeballed me while I was there, because under zero circumstances is a stranger’s opinion of me relevant, especially if I know I am trying. But some people are sensitive to being eyeballed or talked about. One judgmental glance or negative musing might drive them out of the gym and hinder their goals to get healthy.

Similarly, our churches are supposed to be a judgment-free zone, as should the homes and hearts of anyone that wants to claim to be a disciple of Jesus. But we all know what happens. Let a shabbily-dressed person walk into your church during the middle of service, right down the middle aisle. Now would you think in your mind that perhaps that person fell on hard times, came to the church for help and possibly had no foreknowledge of church protocol? Or would you turn your nose up at them? Does it occur to you that sometimes people might be in the throes of mental illness? What do you do when a person of another race enters your church, since we know that churches are typically very segregated? Are they made to feel as welcome as any other visitor/potential member?

Is your home a place of peace, comfort and hospitality, or do people feel unwanted when they come over…if they do? I’ll tell you one thing… My house might not always be the tidiest, but if you come by I fully expect for you to feel comfortable as you get comfortable!

Just like a judgmental attitude can run people out of a gym or away from someone’s home, or even force people to distance themselves from the person bringing the negativity, it can and unfortunately does run people out of the church. It’s no surprise to me that the numbers of Muslims are increasing while the numbers of Christians are decreasing. Because some of the nasty, gossipy, low-down, pathetic and childish behavior of other Christians inside the church is downright reprehensible.

You will be held accountable if your judgmental attitude runs someone away. You might be the one to turn away a person who is not even saved. You think God is cool with that?

It reminds me of when I went back to church after becoming pregnant with Jayden, as I was not married when I had my first two kids. An older lady asked me very snobbily, “Do you really think you ought to be coming here in that condition?”

I was different then and immediately clapped back with this:

“Unless you were a virgin when you got married you’re no better than me.”

Shut her up right away.

The thing is, my faith and resolve were strong enough to realize that woman was wrong and I was exactly where I needed to be. My smart mouth and stubbornness won’t allow for anybody to run me up out of anywhere. 

But everyone is not that way. Remember that the next time you decide to judge and gossip.  Think of the things YOU have done. Just because your sin might not be visible to others don’t make them invisible to God.

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