I liked the January 8, 2013 devotion in Our Daily Bread. In it, there’s a story about a Christian who was talking to a man named Bob, who did not care much for Christianity. The Christian asked Bob if he knew where sinners go, and Bob replied, “That’s easy, you’re going to tell me they go to hell.” The Christian responded to that, “No, they go to church.”
The author of this devotion narrates that Bob was “speechless”: “That wasn’t what he expected. He wasn’t ready to hear from a Christian who realized he wasn’t perfect. My friend had a chance to share that Christians understand their sinfulness and their need for continual spiritual restoration. He was able to explain grace—-the unmerited favor we have with God despite our sinfulness…”
This reminded me of a story that a Christian truck-driver once told me. He said that a coworker was inviting him to church, and he replied that he encounters enough hypocrites in his day-to-day life, so he does not need to encounter more in a church building! But the co-worker meekly responded, “Brother, you don’t go to church to look at the people, but to look at Jesus, since he’s the only one who can save you!” The co-worker’s humility attracted the truck driver to what he (the co-worker) was saying.
There’s something beautiful about humility. Unfortunately, there are many churches that lack this. Either people act as if they’re perfect and look down on others, or they use the “Nobody’s perfect” line to excuse their own immorality or rude behavior. But there are also good churches out there. Of course, me taking other people’s moral inventory is not particularly humble on my part!