I get really frustrated with people in churches who feel that it’s their job to constantly police what others are doing around them. They feel like it’s their calling to make sure that others are doing things correctly and straighten them out if they are not. Thankfully, I’m finding fewer and fewer of these people everyday.
Years ago, while preaching at a little church I knew quite well, I was met at the back of the auditorium by Sister Self-righteous. She was the self appointed worship police. In the past, her big “spiritual” concerns about others had included important issues (sarcasm) like how someone was dressed on a Sunday morning, who was chewing gum while serving communion, long hair on men, and who was talking too much during services. But this time she had a new concern. She’d actually seen someone taking communion that might not have been a member of her church. She said, “Trey, I saw someone taking communion this morning, and I don’t think they are Christians. Maybe someone should talk to them about who is and who isn’t supposed to take communion. Because if they’re taking communion and they’re not Christians, aren’t they jeopardizing their souls?”
Her words immediately stabbed me in the heart. I felt frustration and anger begin to build up inside of me. I was guessing that instead of spending her communion time thinking of the Lord’s sacrifice for her soul, she was once again busy policing what everyone around her was doing.
Choosing my words carefully and trying not to come across too sarcastic, I said, “Let me see. People taking communion that aren’t Christians and it jeopardizes their soul?”
“That’s right,” she snapped.
I replied, “Well if they’re not Christians like you say, then they’re not going to heaven anyway are they? So why don’t we just leave those good people alone and let them take communion.”
“Hmm,” she said looking puzzled, “I haven’t thought about it that way.” And out the door she went.
I pray and ask for the Lord to help me be patient with the self-righteous people of the world. But my biggest concern is that I don’t want those outside the church to think that the church is made up of people like this. Self-righteousness turns away, and often runs off, those seeking Christ.
Thankfully, what I’ve found is that the self-righteous people in the church are the minority, and for the most part, the church is made up of the kindest and most caring Christ-like people in the world. People who make me proud to say, “I’m a Christian.”