I have talked to a few people who have left the church and I was able to ask them why? Why did they leave the church? The answers are answers that have been around for a long time. About half the people said because people in church are hypocrites. That people do not practice what they preach. Most of the other half said it was because that they felt judged when they went into church because they were different and did not fit into the mold that was “the church folk”.
I had never experienced anything of this sort until this past Sunday. Some of you may know that about a month ago, I got a tattoo that is visible when I wear short sleeve shirts. It is a purple elephant because I lost my Papa in August to Alzheimer’s. Purple is the color for Alzheimer’s and Elephants supposedly never forget. It is a tribute tattoo to my Papa and the brave fight that he had against this nasty disease. It is also a reminder that we can’t give up against Alzheimer’s. But this past Sunday it was warm enough to wear a short sleeve polo shirt to worship. Not only that, but I got a haircut this past Friday. It was a drastic change but it is pretty easy to take care of. Plus it was a free haircut done by people who were learning to cut hair in Memphis. Free is always great.
(Both pictured below)
Well I got to church, where I work, I was not greeted with “Hey Thad” or “Good to see you, man”. I was greeted with “where is your hair? Who did this to you?” Not the greeting I am used to. When I told one person that it was a free haircut, they replied with a “you get for what you pay for.” I feel like more was made out of my hair on Sunday then was made of the sermon that was preached. Even one of our contemporary worship leaders made a comment over the microphone.
And because it was warm and my tattoo was showing I got comments that were not positive on that as well. People saying “Oh, I didn’t know you had that.” and looking very negatively on it. Others pointing it out and just having faces of disgust that a church worker would have a tattoo showing on their body.
And I found this clip to even further illustrate my point of people being judged at church. It lead me to one question, Why? Why do we judge people so much without getting to know their hearts.But it also lead me to see why most churches cannot keep people around that are new.
I now see why people who are judged leave the church. People don’t even try to get to know people before they put a label on them. It really is not a fun thing to walk through when you can feel the eyes on you just staring you down and you are getting comments that aren’t positive. So that is why people decide to leave the church that they may be visiting. People come to church to be filled and worship God in a way that suits them. People, not just at church, don’t want people to be looking at them and speaking negatively about them.
But this is not what the church is about. People leave because they feel judged but what if every week we made people feel LOVED. If we loved, we could change the world. If we loved we could change the perception of what people think of the church. If we were devoted to love people as much as we were committed to making Facebook statuses or tweets. We could change the world. So lets think before we judge someone at church. Is this really what Jesus would want us to be doing?
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