This post is different from the rest, but it’s something that I really feel like I must address. Agree or disagree, that’s totally cool. Either way, think of this as a challenge to do better.
Religion/Faith. Why does it make so many people crazy, and mean and totally inappropriate? Why is it that people use it as a shield to hide behind while they throw stones and jabs at others? Why do people claim their own righteousness while lying about what they’re doing behind closed doors? Why do people believe that a proclamation of faith makes them more valuable than the others around them? Why do people insist on standing in a place of judgement when they themselves are not perfect? Why do Christian people spend so much time pushing Non-Christians away? Why do we continue to do these things to each other? I just don’t get it.
I consider myself truly blessed to have friends from all walks of life, with different belief systems and even some with no belief system at all. I’ve heard stories of people and their walks with God, and quite often their walk away from God. Many of my friends and acquaintances have switched their beliefs and now follow totally different systems than what they grew up with. Some have never heard any other “message” than what was taught to them when they were little. Many don’t really even believe in anything and just choose to do good. When I question friends and their choices, I’m always saddened to learn their reasons for not believing and/or walking away. It’s people. It’s almost always people. Stupid People.
I know what I believe and in my heart, I know that it is true and right. I know what I read in the bible, and those are the words that guide my life. I also recognize that there are many things in the bible that I accept as truths that lots of people don’t share with me. I’m also fully aware that lots of people feel that many of the principles and ideals taught in the bible are outdated and really don’t apply anymore. I know that the Bible has been interpreted many different ways, and that bits and pieces have been changed to suit different groups purposes and beliefs. I know all of that, and yet, I still believe.
What bothers me more than anything is when “Christians” act holier than thou and beat each other down in the name of their religion. Until we are perfect and without any sin in our own hearts and lives, we cannot judge. Ever. Do you not see that by judging so harshly that you’re pushing people so far into corners that they have to come out fighting? What is the point in putting people on the defensive? What purpose does that really serve? Please tell me where God is in that?
Am I suggesting that you turn your back on what you believe and throw your ideals to the wind? Absolutely not. What I am suggesting is that we listen to the people around us. If you don’t agree with what they’re saying or what they’re practicing, that’s okay. It’s your right to walk away, just as it is theirs. You do not have to support their causes, their political choices or what they practice at home. But you can love them in spite of your differences and be an example of what God has asked us to do. Love one another.
God is about forgiveness and meeting people exactly where they’re at. God is about saving people from themselves and their silly choices and decisions. God is about loving your neighbour as yourself. God is not about judgement, discord or ignorance. If you’ve been affected negatively by “christians”, please know that we’re not all the same. God didn’t let you down, people did. Never forget that.
People mess up all the time. There are gossips leading churches. Revered pastors have engaged in extra-marital affairs. Congregation members have met outside of church and engaged in illegal activities. Political leaders make false statements. Upstanding leaders commit horrific crimes. Those things do happen, but that isn’t God. That is people exercising their free will, a God given right. Unfortunately some people use that gift to abuse and mistreat others or to act with outright stupidity. God doesn’t make mistakes. People Do. There IS a difference.
If you are a Christian person preaching your faith to the world, watch your actions and your words. The world is watching you and judging you, EXACTLY as you’re judging them. If you want people to respect our rights to speak out for what we believe in, you have to respect theirs. If you want to be able to speak into other people’s lives, you need to leave the lines of communication open. Bashing on others sexual orientation, statements of faith, seedy past or current lifestyle choices does not show the love of God that should emanate from within us.
On the flip side, if you are a leader in your community and are fighting for things that are important to you, please act the same way. As strongly as you feel, recognize that others are feeling just as strongly on the other side. Respect is a two-way street, we ALL need to remember that. There are many things that I will not sway on, no matter your argument or presentation of evidence. I ask that you respect them, and honor my choice to believe in them. We may not always agree, but I will honor your choices while I stand up for mine.
Recognize that your words and actions can and will affect people around you. If you truly believe in something, share it with grace. We can still stand up for what we believe in without tearing others down. We can fight for our own causes, teach our children what we want, and choose our political leaders without ripping theirs to shreds. Frankly, if we stop judging each other, we just might be able to let some walls down and be exactly who we’re meant to be.
*I am not perfect, nor do I claim to be. I’m not a bible scholar, a preacher or an activist of any kind. I am someone that struggles with being the best that I can be everyday. I mess up and I ask forgiveness. I work at being an example to my children and the world around me. I want people to always feel safe enough to share their lives with me. I want to do better.