Some years ago, my then-teenage daughter had her hair dyed a beautiful shade of turquoise. After the appointment, we drove to an office supply store. On the way in, she wondered how many judgmental looks she would receive. I asked her why anyone would judge her for having blue hair. As we neared the register, an elderly woman saw her and gave her a look of complete disgust. I was surprised (“it’s just a hair color, for crying out loud,” I thought!), while my daughter gave me the “I told you so” look.
Recently I watched the movie “Jesus Revolution.” At one point in the movie, some hippies started attending church, much to the dismay of some of the churchgoers. Some of the churchgoers stormed out of the church when the pastor welcomed the hippies, while others stayed and welcomed them. These hippies ending up coming to Jesus and showing His love to others, bringing many to salvation. (If you have not seen the movie, based on a true story, I highly recommend it.)
The movie convicted me. While I see absolutely nothing wrong with someone getting blue hair (in fact, I usually compliment people who have hair dyed different colors, much to their surprise since they are probably so used to the disapproving looks of others) what would I – and we – do if our church was suddenly filled with people who looked “different”? What if a bunch of panhandlers from the local Walmart came in? Or two dozen biker dudes? Or people with tattoos covering their entire body, from their head to their toes? Or someone with dozens of earrings on every available patch of skin? Or people with – gasp – completely different political views? Or pregnant teenagers?
Would we welcome them, or give them disapproving looks and just prove that indeed, all Christians are judgmental? Jesus welcomed and loved people who were shunned by society. Let’s be like Jesus, love everyone, invite them in, and let the Holy Spirit do His transforming work – in all of us.