by Terry Overton 

There are common questions often asked by those who are outside the Christian faith: Will I be accepted by the church? Will I be welcomed? Am I good enough to belong? Am I good enough to go inside a church? Will Christ accept me? 

Here are a few thoughts we can share with those who might be hesitant: 

God sent His Son for all people; this means those inside the church and those outside the church. The church is not a building. The church is people who believe in Christ. God sent His Son because we are ALL sinners, people inside the church and outside the church. 

Do you know someone who hesitates? Someone who wonders about God? Someone who feels they will not be accepted by believers, by a congregation, by Christ? 

If you left a Christian life or background to lead a sinful life: You will be accepted and will be forgiven.

If you have never known God and at times insulted those who believe and follow Christ: You will be accepted and will be forgiven.

If you have been or are currently a substance abuser: You will be accepted and will be forgiven. 

For those who doubt, who believe their past sins are too much and they are not the “type” of person who will be accepted; or who doubt they are the kind of person who can find Christ, or doubt they are a person whom Christ will love, Scripture makes it clear. YOU are the reason Christ came.

“When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, ‘Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.’” Matthew 9: 11-12 (NIV) 

And for those reading this who are already believers, let us keep our minds and hearts open. Let us send the message to all, “You are welcome here.” Let us not convey judgements for the ones who need Christ and our fellowship the most. 

“And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, ‘Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her. ‘”John 8:7 (ESV) 

The most beautiful thing about the Christian faith is we are all loved, all accepted, all forgiven. Let us live our lives joyfully and encourage others to join in our fellowship. Hold the hands of those who are longing, those who are regretful, those who need to know they are accepted and forgiven. Hold the hands of the ones overcome with guilt, the ones crying out to know their God, the ones overwhelmed by exhaustion, the ones searching for the most unconditional love ever created. Hold their hands and ask them to sit with you and talk. Hear their hearts, quiet their souls, love them as He loves you.