However, religion, doctrine and religious practices are not Christianity. They are merely the tools that Christians use to practice and express their faith. Faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior of mankind is the only rule upon which all Christian denominations are based. Religion is about faith in the rules and rituals. Christianity is about faith in Jesus and a relationship with God.
The first Christian church was composed of fishermen, tax collectors, as well as all kinds of sinners. Jesus accepted everyone; everyone was welcome. Unfortunately, today churches have become a reflection of their membership. We tend to want people worshiping with us who look like us. We have become overly preoccupied with protocol. So, before you get caught up in whether it is debts and debtors or trespasses and trespassers think about the basic, central belief system of all Christians. It’s all about loving God and loving man.
To my brothers and sisters who grew up in church, the next time you see a visitor make them feel welcome in your church. Think back to the time you were the visitor. Look for people who might be from the wrong side of the spiritual tracks. Help them find the right classroom. Explain the drill; the rituals, and the meaning behind the rituals. Tell them where the Bibles are. Helping someone who has come to church searching for meaning is one of the most important things we can do as Christians.
To those of you who didn’t grow up in church, if you visit and don’t know whether to stand or kneel, look for a friendly face and ask. Don’t let the window dressing intimidate you. You might be surprised to find that they are actually glad you are there.