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Like a Hooker in Church

Like a Hooker in Church

But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Galatians 2:3

Early in recovery, when the news of my addiction was still fresh, I found it hard to go out in public. I knew I needed to go back to church, but church is a hard place to go to when you’ve fallen as far as I had. So, I snuck into the service late and left early. It’s not that anyone in church was rude to me. It’s just that church as we know it, isn’t necessarily friendly to the one whose life is an obvious mess. Sunday morning church is a place where people look their best and everyone appears to have it all together. That’s not the place where someone who’s in the middle of a disaster wants to go.

It’s probably unintentional, but it seems like we expect people to clean themselves up before coming to church. This isn’t just my church – I’m not picking on any one institution. It’s just how our shiny Sunday morning worship comes across to those who feel so dirty. They may want to come to Christ, but we’ve inadvertently asked them to do something else first. Clean yourself up. Then you can come. It seems that sometimes, we set the hurdle so high, that it turns those away who desire to find faith.

In the book of Galatians, Paul condemned those who would add unnecessary burdens to the gospel. Historically, the Jews practiced circumcision as part of their faith. When gentiles came to know Christ then, some Jewish Christians insisted that the outsider must become circumcised to become a Christian. You must believe in Christ . . . and you must cut off the foreskin of your penis. This must have repelled some of those who truly wanted to follow Christ and so, Paul denounced the practice.

How can we avoid placing unnecessary barriers in front of those who want to come to Christ? It’s not wrong to clean up for church and we don’t need to purposefully dress in rags. We do though, need to provide some place for the seeker to come to find Christ. For me, I found comfort and acceptance at our local Christian sober house, which is supported heavily by my church. I found acceptance with those who’d struggled as I had.

As the body of Christ, we must maintain small groups (support groups, recovery groups, or even home Bible studies) – extensions of our church – where those in need feel comfortable coming. If we want to reach those who desperately need faith, we must do what we can to avoid placing unnecessary barriers between them and God.

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