I have seen a disturbing amount of people in prison who stop coming to a Bible study or church services or prayer groups because of what someone else is failing to do, or because some other person is not living up to their idea of what a Christian should be. I have to tell you, I find this way of thinking frustrating.
Honestly it’s like a cancer patient saying, “Hey look at that guy. He’s not taking his treatment the right way, so I’m not going to take mine either.”
The Scripture that comes to mind is Luke 6:41-42, where Jesus said:
“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Luke 6:41)
“Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother’s eye.” (Luke 6:42)
People use this verse all the time as a defense against people judging them, but that is missing the point. Jesus is not telling them that they should not help their brother out, in removing the speck from his eye. In fact, Jesus tells them that they should do that. However, they are supposed to first attend to their own condition.
So, what I’m seeing is people who recognize a problem with their brothers; and instead of trying to help them with their problem, or even examine themselves to see if they have a problem – they are just throwing up their hands and giving up on the whole thing. That’s just crazy!
Again, it would be like seeing someone trying to escape a burning building by climbing up the fire escape, and concluding that if they can’t even get that right, then you might as well not even get out on the fire escape yourself.
Hear me brothers – you need to tend to your own spiritual condition as a matter of first priority. If other people are getting it all wrong, or not getting it at all; that should not stop you from doing everything in your power to pursue God with all your might.
Usually what is pointed out in others is their failure on some level to abide by the Golden Rule. They are not loving their brothers as themselves.
However, I would point out to you – that is the second greatest commandment. The first is to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your might. I paraphrased it that way, stressing the word “your,” because I want you to see that if you are loving God with all that is within you, you will not miss an opportunity to study God’s Word or to worship Him, regardless of what anyone else is or is not doing.
In fact, I will tell you that it is only when you get that right, that you can even begin to keep the second greatest commandment; of loving your brother as yourself.
So let me ask you, how are you doing? Do you choose not to go to church services, or prayer meetings, or study groups because you love God so much – or because you have a problem with some of the people who are there?
Do you realize that if this were a legitimate reason for not going to church, then all Satan would have to do, to kill the work of God, is to plant a few false believers in every church? I’ve got news for you – that is exactly what Satan does!
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I don’t think these people are even aware of the fact that Satan is using them – but he is. All they have to do is show up and be hypocrites, and people start leaving. Satan wins the battle because we don’t recognize his schemes.
You should go to church to worship and honor your God. He deserves it, does He not? Do you really think He would be happy with you ignoring Him, because the other kids at the playground were not playing nice?
Let other people answer to God for themselves. You will answer to God for yourself.
In every situation, you should ask – Will God be honored more by me showing up, or by me skipping out. I’m not saying that we should show up to every event that calls itself Christian, not at all. But, I am saying that we should not fail to do what is good for our souls simply because other people are acting like fools. That would make us an even bigger fool.
Show up for God, because at the Cross, He showed up for you.