We've all been in a social situation where we didn't quite know the rules or expectations. It happens at school, work ... and, yes, even at church.
In the new Pure Flix exclusive show "Live+Local," radio host Tina starts a new question and answer segment called "Judge Not" to tackle those sticky social situations with grace and humor. With the tagline, “Bring your grievance to Judge Not,” Tina guides listeners to solutions that help them remember how to point these situations back to the truth of God’s promises.
WATCH NOW: "Live+Local" Here's the synopsis: Watch what happens when a veteran radio host and his cohost have to navigate the ups and downs of the radio industry all while trying to trust their new program director. Get ready to laugh and be inspired!
We wanted to share what Judge Tina has to say about these sticky social situations and how we can apply these lessons to our own church and daily life.
Embrace the Seasonal Church-Goers
We all dread the moment when we enter the sanctuary, making our way to our usual seats as creatures of habit, only to find that someone has already planted themselves in our spot. What to do? Can we be upset? Ask them to move so we don’t have to stand in the back? Why can’t they understand and respect that those are our seats like all the other regular attendees do?
"The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ " – Matthew 25:40 (NIV)
Tina advises listeners to welcome their neighbors – regardless of their church attendance record. We are called to graciously welcome all people to church, as it is the Lord’s house, and we all matter equally to Him. Just like the Fourth Commandment says, we are called to "love thy neighbor," with no footnotes or small print depicting any exclusions. In other words: Graciously offer them your seat, welcome them with a smile and share the love, hope and peace of Jesus Christ in His house.
Tithing: The Panic, The Perplexity & The Principle
Tina acknowledges she herself once suffered from “offering plate stress disorder.” She described it as dread with symptoms of sweaty palms, a pumping heart and the pressure of all the eyes on you when the offering plate is coming your way. What do you do? How much do you have to give? Were you prepared for it and have the right bills you need? Why does it feel like everyone is watching specifically as it gets to you?
"But you are to seek the place the Lord your God will choose from among all your tribes to put his Name there for his dwelling. To that place you must go; there bring your burnt offerings and sacrifices, your tithes and special gifts, what you have vowed to give and your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herds and flocks." – Deuteronomy 12:5-6 (NIV)
While having everyone’s eyes on you during this moment can feel like immense pressure, Tina reminds us that how we give, how much we give is between us and God – no one else. Others may make assumptions based on what they see us do with that offering plate, but they don’t know if we’ve set up automatic online payments, or that we donate our time and treasure in other ways for the good of the church. But God does ... and that’s all that matters.
Another piece of tithing advice Tina gives? Think of your money as God’s money and it may just allow for better financial decisions and ease the dread of giving it back to Him every Sunday.
Focusing in the Midst of Distractions
We’ve all had those moments at church where it just seems like no matter how hard we try, we cannot focus on the message before us. Whether our brains are thinking about a never-ending to-do list, there are distractions inside the sanctuary, or a child is trying to steal the show, things outside of our control can sometimes get the best of us in church. We often wonder, is this just me? Does anyone else ever feel this way?
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." – 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
Tina assures us this is not something we experience alone. No matter where we sit in the sanctuary, there’s always going to be something that tempts us to be distracted. What’s important is that we fight through it and try our very best to give that time and attention to God and to be present at the moment. When we get angry by the distractions caused by our fellow churchgoers, we must remember to give them grace and be patient. God rejoices when we give Him our best at that specific moment. We must gracefully accept that about ourselves as well.