by Tony Nester

Seeing People with Fresh Eyes
Tony R. Nester
2 Corinthians 5:16-21

Sometimes when my family has been on vacation we like to take a peek at some fancy places even though we're not fancy people. A couple of years back Evelyn and I took our daughter Carolyn for a campus visit to a college in Chicago. The trip was expensive enough because of the air fares we paid for three of us to fly from Omaha to Chicago. To keep the rest of the trip's expenses down we chose to stay in a Motel 6 room not far from O'Hare airport. After visiting the college we went downtown to see the Chicago Loop area. One of the places that caught our eye was the Palmer Hotel. So we went in to take a look. It was no Motel 6! There was an immense lobby that was furnished with magnificent pieces of furniture. The carpet was posh. There were large, beautiful displays of fresh flowers. We checked out the restaurant which looked great -- and expensive. We were dressed in casual clothes, but we saw lots of people in good- looking suits and dresses.

There are special occasions when Evelyn and I have splurged and treated ourselves to some wonderful experiences. But this wasn't one of them, and we knew we didn't belong at the Palmer House. It's not the kind of place we're used to staying in, certainly not for an extended stay. It was just too perfect.

I believe that's how many people feel about the church -- including this church. They just don't feel they belong with us -- at least not for an extended stay. We give the impression -- at least to them -- that we're too perfect for them to be comfortable with us. So some people never come into our church, and some who come don't stay. They know they don't measure up to perfection, and they don't want to be around people who make them feel inferior.

I want to set the record straight this morning. We are not perfect people. "Of course not, Pastor," you say. "We never claimed to be perfect people."

That's good as far as it goes, but it doesn't ...

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