People’s objections to faith are often because of bad experiences with religious people. They feel judged. Jesus said: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Mat 7:1–2 Religious culture can be judgemental, and it isn’t easy to just stop. It’s because right and wrong is embedded in our thinking.
Judah Smith, in his book, ‘Jesus Is …’ writes about this thinking:
“Here’s how I assure myself I’m doing good. I make up rules to fit my standard of living, the I judge you by them. If you follow my rules, you’re a good person. If you don’t, you’re a bad person. If you have stricter rules than me, you’re a prude who needs to lighten up.”
We create our own delusion by creating our own rules to make ourselves feel better because we haven’t been as bad as others. However, God tells us we have all have sinned; we have all fallen short of the mark. Judah admits that his way of thinking is wrong. Can we do the same?
If we can, we realise there is no need to avoid sinners. In fact there is a need to go out of our way to engage with sinners. Everyone has sinned and needs Jesus grace, so we’re all on the same level.
Part of honestly sharing our faith is acknowledging with others our own inadequacy without God, and the great news that Jesus wants to welcome us into the family anyway.
If we must keep rules and judge others to feel good/worthy about ourselves, we’re preaching the wrong Gospel.