Not attending services that Sunday morning in the nearby town was not an
option for us. We raised our boys the way I was raised—on Sundays we went to the assembly of the saints, period. No one ever even thought to say, “Will we attend today?”
So we walked into the services that morning in jeans and flannel shirts. We did not even have on our “best” jeans, because we learned early that camping could be a dirty, staining experience. It was not quite so bad for the guys—one or two other men did not have on ties--but there I was, the only woman in the place without a dress and heels. And without exception, the women looked at me, turned their heads, and walked away. None of them ever did speak to me, even after Keith spoke knowledgeably in Bible class, and we obviously knew the hymns. I tried not to be judgmental, but I kept wondering if they thought we were some poor, down and out family, who had stopped, “just to try to get some money.” You know why? Because I had thought the same thing in the past about others who looked like us.
I wanted to stand up and say, “My husband preached full time for ten years. I teach Bible classes and have some Bible class literature in the bookstores.
My children can probably answer more Bible questions than you can!” I wanted to rub their noses in the fact of their discrimination. But I didn’t. Instead, I pondered my own guilt, and wondered if I would have done any
So take a minute and think about your own behavior on Sunday mornings. Whom do you rush to greet? Whom do you leave standing, feeling awkward and unwelcome? Which ones may need the Lord the most? In fact, which ones might the Lord himself have welcomed the most fervently? Would we have stood with the Pharisees, rebuking him for eating with sinners? And weren’t we, in our suits and ties, dresses and heels, once in the same condition? And couldn’t we find ourselves there again, if we do not follow his
My brethren, hold not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there comes into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, and there comes in also a poor man in vile clothing, and you have regard to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, “Sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “Stand there,” or “Sit under my footstool,” do you not make distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brethren, did not God choose those who are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them who loved him? Howbeit, if you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” you do well, but if you have respect of persons, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors. For judgment is without mercy to him who shows no mercy, James 2:1-5,8-9,13.