In this place liars, thieves, addicts, bodily ailments, personality disorders, successes, failures, races of the entire globe; we are ALL the same in that each of us stands free and able to lift the praises of our King of kings. The only thing that matters in a church service is what's happening in the present. If in the present moment we are all lifting God's name on high, all celebrating the power of His mercy, all acknowledging His grace, then literally NOTHING else about the person beside us matters.
Nothing else matters.
Can you comprehend how POWERFUL that is? That a prostitute can lift their hands to bless God beside a virgin, their prostitution not being an issue, is HUGE! That a thief can stand beside the hardworking laborer without their thievery being recognized is REMARKABLE! On & on these black and white comparisons can go. Only its not actually "black and white" in His presence. In His presence, it's JUST HIM! And there are NO COMPARISONS! Who we are, or have been can receive no recognition. Neither our goodness, nor our badness gets a spotlight.
The moment we turn the spotlight to display our own righteousness, only the reality of our personal filthy rags will be seen by all. And such awareness pollutes the atmosphere. The moment we turn the spotlight to display the filthiness of someone else in the building; the system sparks, and glitches, and on display is... OUR OWN DISGUSTING FILTHY RAGS.
One's efforts to point out someone else's shame will ALWAYS backfire to spotlight their own. Lowering our gaze to confront or fight battles across the aisle defiles the sanctity of the environment. He can't breathe in such an unmerciful, vengeful place. He will either remove His presence, or remove the offender. Because the only thing "better" about a virgin than a prostitute is her personal memories not being filled with shame. And the only thing "better" about the laborer than the thief is his self-awareness not being degraded. My pastor always reminds us, "We're not better. We're just better-off."
The consequence of sin is heavy; our memory never turns off. Even after the blood covers, the memory is still intact. And memories are painful enough. But in the church, no one human is more worthy of God's protection, defense, and love than another. Memories aren't on display. Only HE can be on display. We are all equally forgiven in repentance.
Must we repent? Of course. But God and the voice of a pastor will call to repentance. The rest of us must focus on delighting in the goodness, mercy, and majesty of God. Keep the spotlight of our eyes lifted to Him.
Never mess with the spotlight system in the church. The direction of our spotlights is what keeps us safe and protected. They are perfectly turned to illuminate His glory, His mercy, His grace. The love He has for us beams back flawless enlightenment for life.
And we DANCE in His glory!