I have often wondered how the church, which was founded on amazing grace, became a place of judgment for people struggling with sin.
Which is really all of us, if you think about it.
Here is a thought:
I think the church moves toward judgment of those outside our walls because it is much easier to judge others than it is to love, and to submit our own darkness to the transforming ways of God.
And so we judge. Despite what the Scriptures tell us is our main job.
Paul says that love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
He says that the only thing that really counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Galatians 5:6)
The writer of 1 John says:
“We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.” (1 John 4:19-21)
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
(Not to mention his summary of the greatest commandment … love God, love neighbor.)
We, by the nature of who we are as followers of Christ, are first of all called to love.
Here is a little section of 1 Corinthians that I am not sure many of us have even heard before:
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
Far easier to judge than to love…
I think Paul knew that.
I often ponder what might happen if the church became known again as a place of great love and grace, rather than a place that makes hurting, broken people feel worse than ever about themselves.