Many years ago at my wedding reception, one of my husband’s and my best friends stuck his head in the window to see how we all looked and to
wish us all the best.
He didn’t want to come in.
I didn’t understand.
He’d been invited. I sent the invitation myself. I even got his RSVP that he was coming.
So I asked what the problem was.
He wasn’t properly dressed for the reception. (oh, my, we’re going to be arrested by the fashion police).
You see, his truck had broken down on the highway and he had to crawl under it . He hadn’t been able to make the wedding or to change for the reception.
So I did the only thing there was to do.
I gathered up my gown, ran out to the parking lot and dragged him into the reception.
I got him a seat and a plate of food and told this dirty man in his dirty jeans he owed me, the bride, a dance after he had eaten. Then I danced with him.
I didn’t care how he was dressed. He was a nice guy. He was our friend. I wanted him to be there. After all that was why he’d been invited.
This seemed reasonable to me then (and now).
Most of my guests and family didn’t see it that way. I got a lot of extremely negative feedback from that little act! Not to mention the stares and dirty looks while we were dancing.
Things were said even during the reception and my mother kept reminding me how embarrassed she had been by that. She reiterated this for years to come. “What was I thinking?”
I put this all in the back of my mind until recently.
I had gone to a church other than the church I normally attend. I wore jeans.
I deliberately wore jeans to see if anything would be said.
No one disappointed me. Someone remarked how that wasn’t the proper dress for a church service.
Do they NOT know this is the 21st century?
What if I hadn’t any other clothes?
What is the “proper” dress anyway?
Now before you get all hot and bothered that this congregation was so repulsive, I want you to take a look at your own church, your friends, your family, even yourself.
And what about me? Wasn’t I being judgmental in expecting that kind of reaction?
Suppose I had worn a short, short skirt, a midriff T-shirt to show off my belly button piercing, lots of tattoos, purple colored spiked hair and black lipstick.
Would I have been welcome in God’s house? By people in any church? By people in your church?
By people in my church?
I’d like to think everyone in my church would’ve welcomed with open arms. But if I were being totally honest it probably wouldn’t be that way. I’m not even sure I’d have no reservations.
Jesus wouldn’t have had any problems accepting someone like that.
He ate with prostitutes and tax collectors. He talked with the scum of the earth.
He healed old people and beggars. He asked a guy who’d been dead for days to come forth to him
(now don’t tell me that guy didn’t stink).
He never judged anyone by the clothes on their back.
Jesus had every right to judge. He could’ve been judge, jury and executioner.
Yet He wasn’t. He just loved. You. Me. Everybody.
It doesn’t matter what people have on, it matters what’s inside of them.
That’s what mattered to Jesus.
So the next stranger that walks into your church....
Don’t look at the clothes. Look for what's inside.
Look through the eyes of Jesus.