Today I accidentally ran across a sign posted on a church that said, "No Smoking Allowed on Church Property." I will be honest to say that I was let down. I was not let down because I smoke (I have a funny story about the week I tried starting) but rather for those who read that sign and are turned off by it. It is no secret that anytime someone has a hang up be it smoking, drinking, cussing, over-eating we tend to get defensive when someone talks about it. I think it is safe to say the person doing these things already know they should stop. I remember my uncle Bill in East St. Louis Illinois looking at me barely able to talk and said "Boy, these damn things will kill you!" He continued to smoke his cigarettes. Me being an 11 or 12 year old will never forget that.
My concern is that when someone is smoking and walks up to a church and sees that a few questions may begin brewing...
1. Would you prefer me be hypocritical and say "I don't do that" and then have a smoke on the other side of the street or in my car? Would you prefer me to be real or fake?
2. If I cannot smoke on the church grounds...can that person cuss or that couple continue to have an affair or that person continue to misuse the benevolence funds and lie about it?
3. If I cannot smoke here, please tell me what church I can, because so many say "COME AS YOU ARE!"
As I told one of my board members after church one day as the smell of smoke came into the church, "You smell that? That is the smell of ministry." I am all for having no smoking signs inside of the building for health and courtesy issues but to say "no smoking allowed on the church property" is probably something that would make Jesus a little upset.
I am thankful that the God I serve and love extends to me the grace that though I don't smoke there are many other hang-ups I bring on the church property that are actually sinful unlike smoking.