Why do we as Christians sometimes focus so intently on other's sins and not see the speck in our own eye? I write â€œsometimesâ€ because we do not constantly behave in this way. But it impresses me when someone is spiritually mature and refrains from such action.
Being spiritually mature means not being judgmental and pointing out what others do and comparing your life to theirs. Spiritual maturity is sitting without chipping in while others gossip, listening with compassion when someone does sin or we hear they've sinned, and bringing their lives before the throne room of Christ and praying for them.
The unhealthiest of churches are filled with gossip and grasp onto a form of righteousness that is spoken with words, judgmental in speech, and yet sinful in gossip and judgment. I am always awed when I am around someone who does not gossip, is not judgmental, and knows when to open their mouth to God in prayer, and close it to gossip. These are the spiritually wise and mature among us.
When we find ourselves in a church being busybody in nature, we have to ask ourselves, â€œIs this church healthy?â€ Sometimes, it is time to correct our own behavior, or simply move on from an institution that is not spiritually healthy so one can grow in Christ, and cease looking down on the sins of others.
I have been in both types of churches. The ones that are healthy are usually ones where the pastor is strong and confident enough in Christ to bring correction to sin and gossip, not allowing it to be hidden or left unaddressed. It is in this environment that we can grow in our relationship with Christ, walking toward holiness and striving to live a biblical example in our life to those not only in the church but to those who do not know Christ.
I am proud to be part of a congregation where it is safe and easy to bring guests who are hurting. I am thankful that when a girlfriend from college called this week, I felt comfortable referring her to my church. When family and friends have gone through a hard time, I knew they would not be bombarded at my church, but could come and sit, worship in intimacy and hear a solid word that touched their lives. People are friendly, not pushy, and it feels safe. This really is how we are to live our lives as Christians, not wondering if people talk about us when we leave the room.
Where do you attend? Chances are you are being fed and are growing in your walk with Christ because we have a lot of great churches in our area. And ultimately, each of us is accountable for our own life and actions before Christ.
In your church, are you allowed to harbor a secret sin? Do you allow yourself to do so? Are you in an environment where bad company corrupts good character? Or are you growing, loved, challenged â€” but not judged?
These are thoughts I have had over the years as I have attended different churches. Church should be safe. When leadership and members gossip and judge, that is not safe. These are the people I see in my office. Let us love, pray and strengthen one another in security so we have a sense of well-being and growth in our walks with Christ.
The Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian's column runs every Saturday. Reach her by e-mail at email@example.com or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, M.S. La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107