I can recall the countless stories I have heard over the years about young people leaving the church after visiting because they were approached with judgment rather than love. They were saddened by the mere fact that their clothing, as first-time visitors, was not good enough and they weren’t welcomed. The troubling part is that many young people are expected to behave as though they grew up in the church and have been governed according to its principles. The truth is they have not. I asked myself, how I would feel if I had been treated that way? How would I feel if I came looking for something unique and hoping for a change to occur in my life but was unable to feel the presence of God? How would I handle the judgmental stares, the blatant glares, the whispers, and the cold and overt mistreatment just because I didn’t look a certain way?
Sadly, many have left churches and the idea of being connected to the church as a path to God for unanswered questions and inner healing. To this day, many refuse to return due to the painful experience of rejection. God doesn’t approve of this behavior because He is love. He loves us so much that He looks beyond our shortcomings and still deems us worthy of love, grace and mercy. Mature saints cannot forget how God accepted and was patient with us. God’s heart toward His children is priceless, and we must adopt the same posture. Matthew cautions us:
If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea (Matthew 18:6 NIV).
You see my flaws, but God sees me differently. Although different in my choice of style and attire, don’t hurt, mishandle, or judge me. We cannot afford to be the reason someone runs before we can help them. I cannot even imagine someone hurting my children. The scripture is clear about how God feels when someone disappoints His children. Who are the little ones Matthew 18:6 speaks of? I see the little ones as those who were not fortunate enough to have been in church for years. I see the little ones desiring to fit in but not really knowing how to. I see the little ones desiring to dress better but may not have the means to. They’re barely making it on what they have. The little ones who scarcely come to church arriving at the house of God in broken pieces. They come expecting a blessing but upon arrival, feel condemned.
How can you help those who have been wounded because they did not feel good enough?
How can you make them understand that God loves them, and He sees them differently?