Consider the situation where you are sitting among a group of believers, listening to someone teach. The teaching is very inspiring and challenging. You are really enjoying it. Beside you, a baby starts crying. Can the crying baby distract you from worshiping God? If we assume that you can only worship by listening to the teacher, then the baby would be a distraction. If we assume instead that the way you respond to the crying baby and the baby’s mother reveals your obedience to God, then you can continue to worship – even if you cannot hear the teacher.
This started to make me think about how we handle “distractions.” In Alan’s example, the baby becomes the distraction. Often times we remove distractions from us when we meet. We have children’s church, we have the nursery, we have contemporary services vs. traditional services, and the list could go on. None of these things are bad, or evil, or anything, but often they are created to remove distraction. We have children’s church because children get bored in real church, so we deal with the children by removing them from the situation. Babies tend to poop and cry and make all sorts of noises, so we send them to the nursery. Older people don’t really like contemporary music, so we have singing time with hymns and a separate singing time with newer music for the younger generations.
As I said, none of these things are wrong, in and of themselves. However, is it possible that these things tend to hide our sin? When your children get rambunctious, you’ll get an evil eye or two. Someone will surely gossip about how they could not hear the sermon, how misbehaved your children are, etc. By removing the children, the people do not have to deal with their sins because they can act like perfect little people. The same goes for the other examples I listed above.
As I have been contemplating these issues, I started to wonder what else we use to hide our sins. It occurred to me that legalism is the biggest thing, I think we also use doctrine to hide our sins, man-made rules and regulations, even our buildings can be used to hide our sins.
I suggest you ask yourself how you are hiding your sins.
I pray that God would reveal to us our sins and the devices we use to try to hide them from others. I pray that we would be more transparent before his Church and before Him, that we would confess our sins instead of hide them. I pray that He would strengthen us and those who we encounter to be more open to forgiving, guiding, and urging each other to love and good works. Most of all, I thank Him for all that He has done in our lives through His sons work on the cross and escape from Death.