Whoever you are, whatever your skin color, hair color, height, weight, sexual orientation, or beliefs: come to church. Come to church with me. Find one that speaks to you and stirs your spirit. Please, please come. You are more than welcome.
That being said, I want to encourage you to not stay as you came. Let the Holy Spirit change your heart and do a work in you. Romans 12:1-2 tells us,
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God--this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is --his good, pleasing and perfect will."
It uses the word transform. That means change. When we let the Holy Spirit transform us, we let it renew us, which basically means it gives us a new rest that we've never known before. We let it change our hearts.
Psalm 51:10, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit in me."
There's that word again: renew. A new rest. We will rest steadfastly as God enables us to do so.
As a church, we do a bad job of welcoming those who are not similar to us. If your hair is dyed, we look at you weird. If your skin is different, we may react. If you're LGBTQ+, we may avoid you. If you don't carry the same values, we may tell you that you're wrong.
Listen, if I had blonde hair, my hair would definitely be blue or purple. Sorry, not sorry.
That is where we, as a church, have failed. I apologize for that. If you are in any of those categories and have ever felt hated, I'm sorry. We as Christians are supposed to love every person we come in contact with.
But just because we love you, doesn't mean we support you.
Being gay is a sin. I will love you if that's how you choose to live, but I cannot support that. If your hair is dyed, I will secretly wish I can do the same to mine. I applaud that. If your skin is different, that says nothing about your heart. I love you. If you don't believe the same, I will pray for you. I will not tell you that you're wrong or slam you down. I will love you.
As a church, we need to fix things, I will admit that.
But from the opposite end, you need to stop hating the church. Not every one of us is going to stand outside with signs telling you that you're going to hell, I think I've made that clear. We need you to work with us, as much as we can work with you.
You are more than welcome into the church. Jesus loves you, and so do we. Please, come and join us. But be open. Let Jesus change your heart and move in you.
Come as you are, but leave differently. Leave happier. Leave renewed. Leave refreshed. This is a reminder that God doesn't hate you because you're different. You are special to Him, and you are special to me, too.