I am responding to the articles by readers of this paper on what people should and should not wear to church. We have approximately 30,000 residents in our immediate area of the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin.
Of those 30,000, about 3,000 attend church on a regular or semi-regular basis. That's 10 percent. So, 90 percent of the people in our area are not going to church at all except, perhaps, a few on Christmas or Easter.
Jesus said he came for those who were sick and needed a physician. He loves those addicted to alcohol, drugs and gambling, those who had abortions, are living with someone without being married, steal, swear, lie, commit adultery, are depressed, sad, lonely, are grieving, heart-broken or feel that no one cares.
He loved those who were society's misfits. Do we? Are we uncomfortable if someone comes to our church with green hair, nose rings or smelling like last night's party? Do we avoid them or make them feel uncomfortable?
Jesus was angry at people who were leaders of the church and had one standard for themselves and another for everyone else. He loved sinners but didn't condone their sins. He came to give a new life to the lost and spend eternity in heaven with the lord. He told us not to judge others unless we wanted to be judged. He said we would be judged by the same standards that we judged other people.
We have many churches and different denominations in our area. It doesn't matter what label we attach to ourselves. It does matter what relationship we have with our lord Jesus Christ.
If we stopped to think about all the people who don't go to church, are lost and will spend eternity in hell, we would put aside our pride, shyness or discomfort and talk to them about Jesus. We would invite them to come to church wearing dirty jeans, chains and green hair or whatever. The lord will change them on the outside, if needed, after he changes them on the inside.
People don't have to go to church to be saved but it must be an important of living for the lord since it is one of the Ten Commandments. God told us to set one day a week aside for his day. We are to join with other believers. We find comfort from sharing our struggles and difficulties with others who pray with us. We weren't created to go through life carrying heavy burdens and troubles alone. We pray for each other and find peace.
Sometimes, people have been hurt from others in church and have stopped going to church altogether. But, do you stop going to all restaurants because you had a bad meal or do you stop going to work because you had someone say something you didn't like? There are plenty of other churches if you don't like the one you went to but forgiving others isn't just for what happens outside of church. Christians need to forgive each other too.
The lord will return soon and many will be lost forever.
How will you feel at judgment if your neighbors, friends, family members, fellow students or co-workers spend eternity in hell and you knew the lord but were too uncomfortable to tell them how to be saved? Every week, this paper is full of front page stories and pictures of people from our own community that have committed violent crimes, stealing, doing drugs, cheating, and all kinds of trouble.
Their lives are messed up and this affects their families and love ones, too. There are so many people suffering and empty inside.
This week and every week, invite someone to church. Invite the neighborhood children to church and children's clubs.
Pick up people and kids that need rides. Don't hide the act that Jesus means everything to you, for he said, if we are ashamed of him towards man, he will be ashamed of us with God, his father, at our judgment.
Bringing people to know the lord and find freedom and heaven is the highest good we can do for anyone. Bring others to the lord while there is still time. Jesus is coming back sooner than we think. Don't let others live and die without knowing him. Clothing doesn't matter but souls do.