A congregation takes on it’s own unwritten Christian code of conduct, a unique code of behaviour and appearance.
To feel ‘accepted’ you need to follow this unwritten code.
Roy (name changed) was naturally jolly and bouncy, but the congregation was more sedate and ‘spiritual’!
Soon Roy was getting on everybody’s nerves and this was intensified when the church went away for a few days of camping.
The reaction Roy was getting was summed up when he bounced into the room to get his breakfast, wearing a baseball hat back-to-front and chirpily said, “Good morning campers!”
This totally broke the congregation’s code of behaviour!
Almost everyone gave out an inaudible groan and Roy was increasingly cold shouldered.
Little groups would gossip about his inappropriate behaviour and they would look down on his actions.
It didn’t take long before Roy left that congregation feeling very hurt.
What was his crime?
He hadn’t done anything wrong – he just hadn’t ‘conformed’ to the congregation’s unwritten code of behaviour.
Paul tells us to:
Accept one another then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”Romans 15:7
The word ‘accept’ here means ‘to take to oneself’.
Do we, or our congregations, uphold these often petty codes – at the expense of pushing people away?
Do we ‘take to oneself’ the newcomers who dress differently or who behave in a different way to what we expect?
How about looking at this article: Views on what makes a sin terrible or acceptable