“I don’t go to church because churches are filled with hypocrites and people judging others for things they do themselves.”
I read those words tonight on a social media post. I used to have an excuse for why I quit going to church a decade ago, too.
It wasn’t about the hypocrisy of others. It was simply that I didn’t feel like I fit in because I couldn’t quote scripture and hadn’t spent the majority of my life in a church.
In May of 2021, when I made the decision to go again because my 7 year old asked me to take her, I was nervous to go. I wanted to feel accepted. I didn’t want others to judge me for never being baptized, for the sins of my past, for the sins of my present day, and for the sins I’ll continue to make in the future.
I didn’t realize my pride was my problem. I was allowing my fear of what others thought about me to keep me out of church. Satan spent more than a decade celebrating his victory of controlling my life with pride.
I also didn’t realize that a church family is an amazing group of imperfect people, just like me, working to figure out how to be more Christlike.
That’s right … like the man who wrote about hypocrisy keeping him out of the church, I also let my pride keep me out of church. I didn’t want to go to church for fear of being judged by others. The man quoted at the beginning doesn’t want to go to church because of how he is judging others. We both let the sin of pride keep us from fully being able to worship and glorify God.
**** Matthew 7:3-5 ****
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Before I had barely written a response to his post, another person wrote the reason she never went to church was she had plenty of family members who proudly went to church on Sunday and lived as hypocrites the rest of the week.
Satan wants us to see the negative in people and keep us out of the church. That’s a win for him. The more he can divide us and keep us away from worshiping Christ together, the more excited he becomes.
We don’t go to a hospital expecting a place full of well people. We go to a hospital knowing there are sick people who need to get well.
Church is no different. We shouldn’t go expecting perfect people. We should go expecting imperfect people who are healing and growing as Christians.
By judging others as hypocrites and using it as an excuse to stay out of church, we literally play God ourselves. One of my favorite quotes I wrote down recently was, “It’s not your place to play self-righteous judge in the mini-Kingdom you have established in your little corner of this world.”
Sometimes the hardest part about recognizing the reason we don’t go to church is recognizing it’s not really because of other people. It’s because of something within us. This was really hard for me, but recognizing it changed my walk as a Christian.
God didn’t put me on earth to judge how others live their lives. God put me on earth to serve my purpose. He is the only judge. But oh how easy it is to point the finger at others and want to judge them. And oh how easy it is to fear how others will judge and accept us if we let Satan win our hearts.
I don’t worry about what others think about my sins. I’m a Christian, and I’m a hypocrite. I get angry. I have idols in life I have put before God. I have pride issues. I say words I shouldn’t say. In short, I am pretty sure I’ve broken all but one, maybe two, of the 10 commandments.
**** Romans 3:23 ****
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
But I also have God. I have taken my sins to God and asked for forgiveness. And I know he’s forgiven me. His grace and love is all I need.
I’m not perfect. God knows that. He uses our imperfections to help us grow. He knew we all needed a Savior, and he sent us Jesus.
God calls us in the Bible to worship together as Christians. He does not call us to judge others for how they live their lives. He knows the church is full of sinners. It’s why we go to church … to be around others, to learn from others, and to worship a God together with other Christians who help us see past all the transgressions and mistakes we make.
It was hard for me to take the first step back to church in May 2021 after not going for years. But boy has my life changed since that moment.
Sunday I am being baptized. It turns out it’s okay if you missed doing that in your teenage years. There’s no time like the present to show that step of faith.
Yep … some of you will see me and say I’m going to be another hypocrite in the church. I promise you, I am going to make mistakes and sin, but I’m hoping to make less mistakes as I continue to grow in Christ.
And I promise, if you’re one of the people who has been scared to go to church for fear of being judged, or because you’re the one judging the hypocrites, I will welcome you with open arms to sit beside me any Sunday at church.