I was driving my (new) usual route from my house to the main part of town. My route, similar to many suburban routes, takes me past many billboards, neon lights, and dancing people spinning arrows dressed in strange costumes (why anyone would want that job is beyond me).
I especially notice (and the marketers smile) signs that you can change, sometimes daily, with little quips or quotes such as “Happy Birthday Honey Bunny love, Big Fred” or “United We Stand” and the like. These signs are usually owned by gas stations, churches, schools, etc.
So here I was driving along, bopping around to Taylor Swift, and listening to Braylon talk to his stuffed elephant and zoning out (the good kind not the unsafe, distracted driver kind).
The sign I noted that morning in particular was from a local Christian church (which will not be named). As I pulled up to the stop sign and looked out my right side I noted the sign today read “NOW OPEN FROM EASTER TO CHRISTMAS.”
My first thought was, “How odd. A church that is closed from Easter to Christmas? Must be those crazy enter in random denomination!”
A few seconds later it hit me.
“Oh my gosh!” I thought. That was actually a (not so clever) sign targeted, quite rudely, at church going folk that only attend church on Easter and Christmas.
I could not believe it.
Not only was that probably the worst way to entice people to church I had ever seen, it was aimed at people who are already Christians!!!
Not only was this church attacking those who didn’t attend church at all, but those who didn’t go to church “enough.”
Now, I believe in attending church regularly for many, many reasons including community, specific time for worship and prayer, etc.
But I absolutely, positively, 100% do NOT believe in guilt tripping, humiliating, shaming, or taunting people into attending church regularly (or at all).
It seemed so…self-righteous. And oozing with pride (some of Satan’s favorite chess pieces).
This sign painfully reminded me of one of the most devastating words ever uttered to me.
Back in high school, I had a large eclectic group of friends. Like most teens, whose ideas and passions were just starting to bloom and clash and collide, we enjoyed hours and hours of discussion about literally everything about the world. Inevitably religion (and, in my case, Christianity) would come up.
I remember sitting around a giant round table at one of our favorite Chinese restaurants in town. The kind where you pay $8.00 and eat anything and everything you want.
After all the food had cleared, the religious debate had begun. Out of the twelve around the table, myself and one other (much less out-spoken) Christian were holding down Jesus’ fort. It felt like an ambush.
My best friend in the whole world, completely dead honestly, looked me straight into my eyes and said, “The thing I don’t get about you Christians is when the Judgment Day comes and we all burn in hell and you go to heaven, you guys are going to feel so validated and celebrate that you were right.”
I remember sitting there completely stunned and speechless. My heart sunk into my stomach as if I had been hit with a sledgehammer.
Being an “infant Christian” at the time I had nothing to say. I couldn’t believe that the Good News had been so twisted that THAT was the message and vibe non-Christians were getting from us!
Happy that our fellow men, our friends, are burning in hell, because that’s means we’re right?
The idea made me literally sick.
Are we so obsessed with being right and with being “better” than other people (and other Christians) that we are forgetting what is at stake here?!
Those without Jesus do NOT deserve to be ridiculed so that you feel better about yourself.
Those without Jesus deserve to be saved. They deserve to have Jesus.
So SHUT UP about why you’re better than them and tell them why Jesus is better than YOU.