I accidentally came across the image below. It was written by a real person regarding a real situation in a real church. I’m not really sure of the circumstances (and it could be a case where someones feelings are wrong and he is loved nonetheless), but anyway, this represents a tragic idea that hits home. I’ve talked with many people who say the same thing. A few years ago a friend had fallen into sin. He was publicly humiliated, as is common, and spent much time trying to earn back respect and love. There were many evenings where he would confide in me about the stares and glares that he dealt with. Some brought tears to his eyes. To me the most unfair part was that he was not the only sinner in the room. He was not even the worst. He was simply one that was caught. His sin was merely one that was exposed. All around him were people who equally sinned, yet theirs was private and unexposed.
Psychologists say a bully often assaults others to draw attention away from personal flaws. If a bully feels weak and powerless at home, then he beats up weak kids at school to make himself feel strong. I’d add that church bullies, or those who “judge” and look down upon others for sin, are only trying to cover up their own brokenness and impurity. Talking about another persons sin, lets the church bully feel better about his/her own sin. Putting them down, let the church bully feel up.
Ultimately the only way to stop judging others in sin, is to be forthright and honest about your own sin. I rarely saw this in my life. I guess that is one of the most sad things that I can remember, the absence of sincere confession. I don’t have memories of people being honest about their sin. Though some were pretty honest about their neighbors sins.
Such a culture of shame prevails in many churches, from traditional Slavic Pentecostal churches that sing A Capella music to contemporary Holiness churches with loud music and dancing. The problem is not a style of fashion or music, the problem is honestly and humility, or a lack of it. The only church, ministry, or group that can avoid being judgmental is the one that doesn’t avoid being honest and repentant. It’s one that doesn’t focus primarily one becoming better than other people, but admitting that you aren’t.
The only way to destroy a culture of judgement is to stop telling people “you need Jesus” before you first admit “I need Jesus.”