“Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” – Matthew 7:3
Know what bothers me?
Fog machines during worship services.
I visited a very large church, with a much bigger congregation than I’m normally used to. They had a fog machine. “Why do they need a fog machine?” I started wondering, “Is that necessary? Who is that for?” And of course, the ever-classic, “Where could the money have been spent differently?”
(Because, you know, my last several electronics purchases were completely necessary and the money from those couldn’t have gone to any more noble cause…)
Turns out fog machines weren’t the only thing that bothered me, though. I began forming a mental list…
Know what else bothers me? Flashy lighting effects.
Know what else bothers me? When worship teams seem (to me) like they’re putting on a show for the congregation.
Know what else bothers me? Certain worship song choices that seem (to me) kind of cheesy.
I was on a roll, now! I kept finding new things to judge, as I smugly stroked my ego at the self-satisfaction of knowing that I had such a better understanding of true, sincere worship than probably most of the people in the room!
As I looked around the room to find more things to bother me, it suddenly hit me: I came here to worship God, and instead, I’m judging everything around me! I may have been singing the words and going through the motions, but the only person in the room that I was truly qualified to judge as not worshipping God was ME! If I was doing any worshipping, I was worshipping myself; my opinions, my personal preferences, MY how-I-would-have-done-its!
You know what else really, REALLY bothers me?
How superficial, judgmental, legalistic and critical I am of others.
Every church is going to do things I wouldn’t do if I with all my “wisdom” were the one calling the shots. That’s probably a really, really good thing, because instead of worrying about whether others measure up to my subjective rules, I should be more concerned with whether I’m living out God’s Grace!!
I don’t know the heart behind things like fog machines and programmed stage lights. Who am I to say that strictly musical forms of worship are more valid or more sincere than someone using their stage-design skills as a form of worship? Who am I to say that the worship team doesn’t have their heart in the right place? Who am I to say they shouldn’t have chosen that one song that rubs me the wrong way?
Who am I? A superficial, legalistic, judgmental and overly critical man who needs to remove the log that’s stuck in his own eye. At least, that’s who I can be sometimes. And that’s the last person who should be making judgment calls about how others should be worshipping God.
Okay, there’s also Richard Dawkins. He’d be a pretty bad choice for that role. Hitler and Judas, too, of course.