Indulge me a minute because I am having a moment and I need to vent. Don't ask me what sparked this mood, because I have no idea---nothing in particular fuels my need to voice these thoughts:
Too often, people who regularly attend church are accused of being too judgmental. Non church-goers are quick to label someone as a bible thumper, or make snide comments about the person thinking they are better than someone else or holier than thou. Why? Because they make a casual reference to church? At least in my experience, that is the only thing you could be basing your thought on. I don't proseletyze. Nobody can honestly accuse me of shoving my beliefs down their throat or constantly chastising them for not attending church. In fact, the ONLY time I have ever said something to someone about going to church was when they were going through a really difficult time---I suggested that going back to church could give them a support, a peace to help them through it. Other than that, I only make smart comments to defend and deflect my accusers.
Quite frankly, I am sick of it. "It" being the accusations and snide comments which insinuate I think I am better than somebody else because I go to church. Why does it make me so angry? Because I am very self-aware. I am extremely clued-in to my faults and have no problem in acknowledging the many faults I have. But I have enough flaws that I don't appreciate it when someone heaps their crap on me undeservedly.
When the average individual tells a story, they put it in context. So you if you are telling a funny story about something that happened at work, you would mention that you were at your place of employment. Or if you mention "Joan", your friend from work, you would refer to her as your coworker. But let me tell you a funny story and explain that it occurred at bible study, or the person involved is my friend from my mission group---a million red flags go off in your head. Then the first time I say something you disagree with, you automatically pull out the Jesus card and blame it on me thinking I am holier than you. So in reality, a person who goes to church on a regular basis doesn't get the benefit of expressing an opinion the way others do. That doesn't seem fair to me. Common sense would tell you that a person's stories are going to be based on where they spend their time; just because I spend my time doing church-related things doesn't mean I think I am above you. I don't judge you for your activities, so why do you judge me for mine?
I wish I could scream at the top of my lungs each time I experience a friend or family member's judgment because of the things I choose to spend my time doing. I don't judge them for what they don't do, but they have no problem judging me for what I do. And then there's the evaluating of every action I take and every statement I make. "Well that's not very Christian is it?". When you do something, I don't ask you to put it through the Jesus-meter; why do you feel perfectly comfortable doing that to me?
So attention, all you who choose to not attend church but are quick on the draw to judge the actions and statements of those who do. I can't speak for anyone else, but here are my thoughts: I don't judge you because you don't go to church; stop judging me because I do! Stop acting like because I go to church means I have to be perfect in your presence, and if I gossip or giggle at something someone did, I am a heathen. My saying I am a Christian doesn't mean I am perfect, it means IKNOW I AM NOT, BUT I KNOW I NEED JESUS! And here's a newsflash....I don't assume you are not a Christian just because you don't go to church! I know that there are Christians who choose not to visit church regularly, and I also know that there are people who attend church every Sunday and don't know Jesus Christ.
Final newsflash----my feelings about you aren't any different if you don't know Jesus Christ. I love God, and I love His people (meaning all people). I can be friends with Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists, etc. (actually, I have friends in all of these categories). Of course, what we do together will differ depedning on our beliefs---but the relationships aren't deal breakers because of differing beliefs.
So next time you want to criticize me and call my behavior into question, ask yourself what gives you the right?