Over the last year or so, I have been to church just a handful of times. Mostly to see Allison sing. Of the three times I have church shopped a bit, I have found myself listening to sermons that just didn't "hit home." One was about loving your spouse (I don't have a spouse.) The next time it was about finding calm in your busy life (I don't have a busy life.) And the last time I went to church, the message was "God's perfect plan for sex in your life" (I don't...um, yeah...)
So, it's been a while.
With the encouragement of friends, I planned to attend a new church today. While in the shower this morning I asked God if he could please make the message applicable to my life.
The songs were great, the place very comfortable and the message began. Taking a cue from the current opponent bashing going on in the election campaigns, the message was based on Matthew 7:5:
"You hypocrite! First remove the beam from your own eye--then you will see clearly to remove the piece of sawdust from another believer's eye."
Just as the presidential candidates have continued to point out the flaws in one another, never stopping to focus on their own, so we Christians continue to point out the sins of one another. Often with no purpose whatsoever--except to possibly take the focus off of ourselves. It is always easier to find fault in others.
The basic message was a reminder that it's between me and God! None of us needs anyone else to keep track of our past failings..we all know what we have done.
The final point of the message was this: The Lord knows our faults and he sees the imperfections of our heart...and like a gentle Father he patiently draws us to his seat of mercy to remove that sin and cleanse our heart.
Tears ran down my face. It is so easy to focus on the sins of others. But only God knows the heartache that has accompanies these sins, even after they are long forgiven. He offers the mercy and grace and love that is needed to heal and be restored...and, as Christians, we need to do the same for our fellow believers.
Only God knows how amazingly perfect this message was today...and probably not just for me.