I’m back! I took the summer off while the kids were home, and committed to taking a break from The Bro Code until they begrudgingly returned to classes. Well, today, we hugged them goodbye and said, “Hurry up, or you’ll miss your ride.”
I’m Not Angry
I love God. I’m so crazy about the Big Guy that in addition to reading His love letter (the Bible), I entered seminary because I want to know even more about Him. The challenge is that the more I get to know God, the less I see of Him in many of today’s churches.
I’m not angry at the church, but I am concerned about how His holiest of holy conduct themselves. You know the ones who get the VIP seating so they can look down upon the others. Well then, I guess I am a little bothered after all.
My angst comes from a process I call Sin Scaling™. It’s the pretentious practice of weighing someone else’s sin as more or less destructive than others (mostly theirs.) We all do it because God wouldn’t have had to warn us about specks and planks. I love the way God smacks down the hammer of truth. Yep, even when it strikes me.
3 “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? 4 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?5 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. ~Matthew 7:3-5 (NIV)
While I suspect there’s a connection between where congregants sit and how superior some feel, it doesn’t grant them the authority to cast judgement on others. Diminishing the severity of their sin at the expense of highlighting others is a violation of God’s Word in and of itself. Too often, it’s those very same folks we grin at while gripping their mits to say, “Welcome, Brother or Sister.”
Too many church cultures esteem themselves too highly while laying crumbs for the lowly to crawl through their doors. For the truly hurting, they’re usually met with preconceived judgement and softly-sold condemnation. The false congregational saints lick their chops at the chance to pat the failed on the back and offer contrived words of paraphrased scripture.
Sit On This
We wonder why men don’t come to church, yet when they do, they’re greeted with those perfectly pious folks who pretend to care about what they’re going through. In reality, they care less about what it is to desperately struggle to cling onto one more day in hopes of finding hope.
The church culture of illustrating an image of perfection so the “others” might esteem to model after their front row seats isn’t what Jesus had in mind, nor is it working to “do church” the way He commanded. And for those who scale their sins as better than the ones seated toward the back of the church, God has a hammer of truth about that too:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. ~ Romans 3:23(NIV)
I have friends who went through a tough spell. I’d say they were bedrock partners in their church and sincerely gave all to help others. Yet, when someone yelled, “Marriage grenade,” in the heat of battle. there wasn’t a front-seat soul willing to lay themselves down to help them. God’s people shouldn’t be afraid to get dirty doing His work.
Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~ John 15:13 (NIV)
What’s This About?
I’m not really sure what this is about, or why I felt moved to write about this. Maybe it’s because I spent years in churches that made you feel unwelcome and unwilling to help. Maybe it’s because I’ve also spent the last many years with church bodies that look like everyone just crawled off of the battlefield, and we’re praising God for the chance to get right back out there to fight for others.
I connect with so many men who feel unwelcome in church. Maybe it’s because they’re not married, or have been divorced, or even remarried and don’t fit into what those folks on the front row think they should live like. Lots of these men are unemployed, or hungover, or fighting a porn or drug addiction, so they show up late and slide into the first seat in the very back.
So why don’t they stay? Because self-assigned seating in too many church cultures never bother turning around to see if they need a guiding hand, a prayer or just someone to help them feel decent about a life that they already know is being lived outside of God’s will.
Take A Seat
Dropping the facade, getting real and scooting over so someone in need can sit with you is exactly the way God wants church to be lived. Men in crisis don’t need religion. Honestly, they don’t even want your seat. They need truth, and the greatest truth we can share with them is the truth of Jesus Christ.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:6 (NIV)
What Do You Think
Why do we compare our sin to others?
Are we better off by making others feel bad?
Should we focus on our sins, and work toward repentance and restoration?
What should we be doing differently to make men feel welcome in church?
Any other thoughts about this?
Your Mission Assignment
Thanks for connecting with me here at The Bro Code. There are so many brothers struggling to connect, or to make their voices heard. We men are stronger together.
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Much Love & Respect,