It's very easy for people to come up with stereotypes for church or christianity isn't it? Think about it. You get treated bad by a christian, and you say all christians are bad. You went to church with your grandma when you were little and it was all old people, boring, and was the white church with the big steeple, and you say all churches are for old people. boring, and the same. It's very easy for us to stereotype things and in doing that we dismiss them.
While some stereotypes may be true in life, most are not. It's not fair to do that to people, places, and especially a faith. I mean, I could go out and be rude to someone and treat them bad and would be it be fair for a person to say all men are rude, all white guys are rude, all guys name Jason are rude, all guys from WV are rude, and all guys that are good looking are rude? Ok, maybe not the good looking, but you can see how stereotyping something or someone based on one experience is not only not fair it's not accurate.
True, there are some people out there that call themselves christians, but do not act like it, just surf the web and check out those whacko's from Westboro Baptist in Kansas(http://www.godhatesfags.com/) who hate gays and protest soldiers funerals. Do you think they give the church and christianity a bad name? YES! But, they do not represent Christianity or the God I know, love, and serve? NO! It's not fair to God and the church to judge them based on people and places like this group of delusional people, doing wrong in God's name and abusing the church.
True, there are churches out there that are dying, out of touch, legalistic, self-centered, and doing the same things the same way for 100 years and they are dying because they refuse to change. They are not relevent, they are not reaching lost people, or discipling members. However, there are thousands of churches out there that are reaching lost people, growing, and discipling it's members. There is a church out there somewhere than can and will meet your needs and help you grow in your faith!
I want to challenge you this morning. If you do not go to church because you had a bad experience with a church or a christian in the past, stop using that as an excuse not to go to church or become a christian. We all have bad experiences in life, but we can't let those stop us. If I have a bad experience at a restaurant, I may stop eating at that particular restaurant, but I'm not going to boycott all restaurants based on that one bad experience at that particular store. That would be stupid. Do not do that with God or His church.
I promise you, if you look with sincerity, you will meet great christian people and you can find a church that isn't boring, fake, dull, or full of hypocrites. Yes, they are some bad churches and bad christians, but not all of them. It's like anything, there is always a few bad, but there are way more good, if you will only look for them and not let your bad experience judge your search.
I know that you or I would not want to be lumped into a negative, false, or bad stereotype that wasn't true about us, and I don't believe God nor His true church wants that stereoytpe either. Unfortunately, because we are human, we live in a world where some people who proclaim Christianity, don't live up to the name, and we live in world, where some churches, stopped being the true church a long time ago for various reasons? I can't always live up to my christian faith, and if we were honest with ourselves, we know no matter how hard we try, we sometimes make mistakes and fall short.
The important thing is that each of us know God in a personal way and make a commitment to Him and that we serve Him through His church. We need God and we need His church. People think you can have a relationship wtih God without His church and you cannot. But, we also need to understand not every church out there that claims to be a church is being the church. Therefore, we must search for where God want us and use wisdom and discernment.
Do not label all christians bad and do not label all churches bad. Stereotypes are bad. Seek the truth, don't let bad experiences keep you from knowing God and serving Him through His church!
Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”