It’s a Sunday, and you’re piling into the church with your wife, your kids, and your coffee. You feel great as you start to hear the latest Hillsong United song being sung by the worship team. Everything is sunny and great. And then the guy with the neck tattoos walks in, fresh out of a stay at rehab. He’s smiling, he’s laughing. He’s enthusiastic about his newfound love for Christ. We should all be welcoming him with open arms. But what is the reaction? I’m sure you’ve all seen it. Grandma whispers from the back of the room. Your aunt says something to her neighbor and giggles. Meanwhile, we are all singing worship songs about how everyone is welcome to Jesus.
The next time you meet a recovered alcoholic or drug addict who has somehow found his or her way into church, you need to accept this person with open arms. They have done the impossible. They have been to drug and/or alcohol rehab. They have been through inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, painful detox, recovery meetings. You don’t know everything they had to go through just to meet Jesus. They are turning their lives around, and in Christ, they will be able to help so many people.
We talk so much about how we shouldn’t judge others in the Christian church, but then what do we always end up doing? Judging. What makes this man’s heroin addiction any better or worse than your gambling addiction? What makes this woman’s greed any better or worse than your greed? None of us have the right to judge.
We are all welcome in the House of the Lord. We say it all of the time. So let’s start acting like it. And next time you see someone that is different from you coming to worship Jesus, give him/her a big smile and handshake.