One of the great criticisms of the church is that it is inherently condemning. Many people avoid church because they do not want to subject themselves to the hypocritical accusations of the "holier than thou." To be fair, many professing christians have perverted the gospel by focusing on the law and neglecting grace. History is full of stories of churches and individuals who committed terrible acts in the name of holiness. Many are left wondering, "how can an institution meant to show the love of Christ be so condemning and hurtful?"
Several years ago I went to the doctor for a routine physical. Everything checked out during my office visit, but my blood test came back showing some abnormalities. I immediately scheduled a follow up appointment because I wanted to know exactly what was wrong with me. Why? Because without an accurate understanding of what was wrong I had no hope of being healed. Thankfully I did not have any serious health issues and required no further treatment, but if I hadn't subjected myself to the doctors testing I would not have known the true condition of my health.
So, what do the doctors office and the church have in common? They each have your health in mind. But, unlike a medical doctor, the church is interested in spiritual health. And I've got some bad news... the test results are in and there are some abnormalities you should be concerned with. Like all men, you were you born into sin. More than that, you've chosen to sin thousands of times since birth. In a sense, the church exists to point that out. Her charter includes a call to make disciples of Christ by teaching others to obey Him. In other words, it is an essential responsibility of the church to point out sin. But, don't misunderstand what's happening. The church is not condemning you. It is merely pointing to the reality that you are already condemned! You should feel the weight of that condemnation when you learn that you don't measure up to God's standard. It is only when you see your sin that you see your need for a Savior. The good news is that we have a Savior! Jesus lived, died, was buried, and rose again to save you from sin and condemnation.
I recently had the opportunity to share this truth with my community by appearing on Wellsboro Homepage. Perhaps this video will encourage you as you consider your your life, Jesus Christ, and the church.