I spoke with a young lady yesterday who shared with me her journey toward turning away from the church. She told me that she was raised in the church but no longer finds it as something she wants to be a part of. There is no doubt about it, she is living in sin. She is shacking up with her boyfriend and sees nothing wrong with it. In fact, from my conversation, she sees nothing wrong with anything that she does. Worse she sees nothing wrong in her heart (Ephesians 2:1). She decided to break from the church when the church shunned her parents for the decisions that she had made. She told me of the heartbreaking way in which the church in Tennessee they had always been a part of turned on her mom and dad. Their daughter was sinning, so they wanted nothing to do with them anymore. Her parents no longer worship anywhere and that church has never contacted them.
She also told me that, "She doesn't need anyone to tell her that she's going to hell." I pressed this a little and discovered that she had experienced the "You are going to hell and I'm not" attitude that pervades so many in the church. This is exactly the way the Pharisees viewed others as well (see Luke 18:11). I was recently in a church service where the pastor blasted "those sinners out there" and said "they're all going to hell." What followed was a series of amens. I thought to myself, "Are we gleeful that these people are going to hell? Where is the compassion? Where is the attitude of Paul who said, "For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh" (Romans 9:3). Paul was willing to go to hell himself if it would mean the salvation of all of the Jews. Where is this attitude toward sinners? I told the young lady that hell is real and that I was warning her about hell out of a love for her and her boyfriend. I also told her that I knew that I deserved hell and if God gave me what I deserved I would spend eternity without Him.
We talked about the authority of the Bible and the fact that in the Bible God has revealed absolute truth. I was very encouraged with the conversation. The young lady is a co-worker, so I look forward to having more of an opportunity to share the gospel with her. May God give me compassion for her and may I not look down on her. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?" (1 Corinthians 5:12) Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to "Go and sin no more" but not before He told her, "Neither do I condemn you." Jesus started with gospel, not behavior change. That's a good example to follow.