13 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.
I am a Christian. It is the thing that I am most proud of in my life. But, over the years, the kind of Christian that I am has drastically changed. You see, I grew up surrounded by loudmouthed Christians. Because of this, I spent most of my youth and teenage years mimicking what I had seen and heard. Around my peers, I was the first to declare that I was a Christian, and if you were doing something that I deemed sinful, I wasn’t afraid to let you know it. Never-mind the fact that I had my own trail of sinful behavior behind me.
Many of you probably know a loudmouth Christian. If you have ever worked in the food industry on a Sunday after church lets out, you know exactly what kind of people I am talking about. Maybe it’s the older woman who sits in the pew infront of you at church, maybe it’s your great-grandma, your dad, or maybe even yourself. You know, the finger wagger. The first to let you know that you’re doing something that, He Himself, would not approve of. As if they know what He approves of. The one who talks about what a sinful life you must be leading because you weren’t at church last Sunday morning, or because you had a glass of wine with dinner. The one who fills your Facebook feed with verses, quotes, and statuses about Him, but does not show His Love. The one that is so busy judging and pointing out what everyone else is doing wrong, that they fail to see their own sins. I know this person well, because I was this person. I was taught and trained by the like.
Sadly, most of these loudmouthed Christians can be found in churches. The place that is supposed to be a safe haven, a place of openness and love. It’s really no wonder that people turn away. Realizing this was hard for me. I had gone to church three times a week for nearly my entire life. I thought that church was everything. I think I worshiped the church more than I kneeled at the feet of my Savior. So, I separated myself from the building that is called church and instead I found a church of people. I started meeting and talking to Christians in all walks of life and I learned that I did not want or have to be a bible-thumping, loudmouthed Christian. My faith and my relationship with God was not defined by wether or not I sat in a pew on Sunday morning and Wednesday night. Nor was it defined by how many verses or hymns I could memorize. It was not my sin that defined me, but instead, His Love that surrounded me.
20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Have you ever heard of the phrase, you catch more flys with honey than vinegar? This, is how I view Christianity and witnessing to people. I don’t need to stand here and tell you if something that you’re doing is wrong. If you’re anything like me, then you probably already know it. That is no one’s job, but God Himself. I do not need to stand atop a mountain and declare to the world that I am a Christian, because they should already know it by who I am. Every word that I say does not have to revolve around Him, as if I am constantly shoving salvation down the throat of everyone that I encounter. I can, however, show you what His Love, His Mercy, His Grace, and His Forgiveness are like. I can tell you about all that He has done for me. I can go on and on about my blessings. If you need a friend, I can be one. I can listen when you speak, and love you when you’re down. If you are drowning in a world of sin, I can open my arms and show you compassion. Because I’ve been there, we all have.
What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am in no way bashing buildings that bare the name Church. You can find some of the best people and resources within these walls. Many have come to know the Lord in these places. I am currently praying for, and in search of, a church that is the right fit for our family. I think that youth groups are incredible things in a child’s life. All I am saying is that, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Loudmouth Christians have this club. And you can only be in the club, if you’re in it. They always say the right things, do the right things, and they are there to help guide those of us that aren’t in the club. But I don’t think Jesus was in any clubs, and I’ve never been a fan of excluding people.
And being a loudmouthed Christian isn’t bringing anyone any closer to God.
8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8