When I was 21, I visited a Baptist church on a Wednesday night which happened to be their annual budget meeting. Luck of the draw. My main reason for not attending church was I had been scared away at the age of fifteen after being locked in a room with five people insisting I pray in tongues and when I left the room that day I was gifted with a book of tithing envelopes. So much wrong with that picture.
When I finally sat my behind in a pew, it was the perfect night. I learned why the tithe was important and I didn’t feel so threatened with the message after the budget meeting.
I attended that church for a while, found my husband, had a baby and became a member of the choir. I tithed. I prayed, I learned as a much as I could, as often as I could. I proudly defended my place on the front-lines of the pew sitters! As a new believer I really did see the world in right/wrong with no in-betweens! No grays! No wavering!
And not much love. Not for me, nor for most.
But, the greatest of these is love! If we have not love, we have nothing.
So many in the church have been targeted as hypocrites. The saying is, “Church is where they should be then!” Hypocrisy is, and this is direct from the dictionary: the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense. As the finger points and proclaims “HYPOCRITE” the emotion behind it is usually one of hurt or anger. Much is expected of the Sunday crowd. Sure, we expect the offer of a ride to church, supper after sometimes, a gift of the Holy Word itself, but I propose the main expectation of that finger: they are outing the believer for being without love.
We all fall short! Sure we do! But I now believe after a pretty long and interesting stroll with my Savior that if we focus on that Love issue and begin to really get that right, so much falls into place. God wants us to love ourselves because well, He does, and the whole unworthy crap we hear from the angry pulpit spitters is a horrible control tool used to enhance coffers, not hearts. If we were really that unworthy, the cross thing never would have gone down the way it did! Back to Love. God is Love. Tap into that source and it is a life changer.
Our thoughts, our connection to Spirit, is muddled with so much muck and disgusting self-loathing, how can we expect to view our fellow fellows in any way other than with the eyes of someone unable to see. Hence the song lyric, “was blind but now I see.” Diving deeper, blind means the focus is all wrong, the direction of the gaze is all wrong and the reason for looking all wrong. It is like running a race and crossing a finish line that wasn’t even your race!
“You hypocrite! You have it all wrong!” The finger pointer is saying. “You don’t love me! I don’t see it in your eyes! I don’t feel it in my heart! You are cold, judgmental and elevated and it makes me so damn mad at you!”
We all fall short, but are we suppose to fall flat ALL the time?
Loving isn’t easy is it? Just read any political Facebook thread and we find the ugly real quick. Tapping into God can free anyone from self-hatred which then projects toward others as this flow of amazing love energy. Most of us who have occupied a pew have come across this love in a parishioner or two. Noted in their eyes, their warm demeanor, their acceptance of others with a smile and graciousness. Yeah they exist and yeah, you can sometimes find them in church!
Not too long ago I was treated, in my opinion, as if I was a “less-than creature” not worthy of this person’s time, smile, or a drop of warmth. Then I found out this person is a preacher. And preaches. Every Sunday.
Ah, the Hypocrite lives and yet, so does Love. I chose Love. May I have His eyes, heart and soul energy no matter the matter. I will fall short, but I have been blessed to have been enveloped in His love….
Every time I let Him in!