There is something that has been bothering me for several years. And it relates to a topic that is rather uncomfortable for some: Religion.
First off, as some of you know, I am a Christian. I believe in a God that died on the cross and rose again for our sins. A God that loves us no matter what we have done. Whether people like us or not, whether we ourselves like who we are, God welcomes us all with open arms.
It is normal for people to question the existence of God. In fact, I would even say that it is common. Life sways us in many directions, sometimes making us ask, “If God really does exist, why did this happen?” Whether a close family member died, whether there is a rift in a relationship, maybe getting heartbroken by someone that you thought was close to you and would be by your side.
Where does this post stem from, you may ask? Well… it’s been building up for awhile. I’ve wanted to post about it but keep putting it off. So let’s start from the beginning!!!
I became a Christian when I was very young, and I have been plugged into a church since… well… really since as early as I can remember. For about 14 years, my family had been part of the same church. We built some relationships in this church (not really a lot, but a few) that I would say, somewhat kept us there. We knew almost everyone, so starting over would have been hard.
This church we were a part of had a problem with sin. Don’t misunderstand me. Sin is bad. But there is more to Christianity than sin, such as forgiveness from God. However, this church could not get sin out of their minds. There were two ultimate sins according to their doctrine. These would be sex before marriage and homosexuality. Again, don’t misunderstand me. These are sins, but, what makes these sins worse than another? What makes these worse than killing someone, stealing something, or cussing someone out on the street?
My God forgives all sins, and He doesn’t rate them according to magnitude. The level of sin is a man-made figment. All sins are bad. But they are also forgivable. What is the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins? He didn’t say, “Hey, I’ll forgive these specific sins, but DANG not those!” No! Instead, He died on the cross forgiving ALL people of ALL their sins, as long as they believe in Him.
So, this church we were a part of was kicking out people for being homosexuals, for having sex with people before marriage, along with a few other things. People in the church were used to it, though. It wasn’t anything new. I think the part I hate most about them kicking out people was the fact they would say, “We are handing so and so to Satan”. Wow. So, let me get this straight… apparently, you are all so much better than them, that you can basically ruin any chance of a witness to these people ever happening again? All because the church should be a place without sin? Guess what. Everyone is struggling with something. And your sins are just as bad as theirs.
Now as bad as this whole experience was, some good things came of it. For one, my entire family had an opportunity to witness to people in the form of playing instruments and being a major part in the worship team. My sister and I were also very involved in our church’s youth band as well. Through our ministry, we were able to impact people and witness to them. People were also a huge encouragement to me, and they helped to grow my faith in God, as well. So, even though the situation was crappy, some good things still came out of it.
Finally, it got so bad that the leadership in this church ended up attempting to remove the head pastor, for a mistake that his son had done. At this point, my family had absolutely had it, and left the church.
Christianity shouldn’t be a religion that is based on man-made rules. It should instead be based on God’s word. The church should be a place where sinners learn more about God. In Mark 2:17, it says, “And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Even when you are a Christian, you will still sin. It is inevitable, and it is our nature. We need people around us that will help us to be encouraged. Not by running away from the person or forcing them away, but instead, by God working inside of the person through us. God can even work through unbelievers as well to help us and encourage us.
Now, going back to doubting God’s existence. I’ll be honest. I doubt every now and then. How could God let so many bad things happen, and just stand by, idle? But then, I look around. I see all the friends I’ve made since leaving Indiana, the new job opportunities, my lifelong dream of owning a car, and so many other things. God has to exist! But not the kind of god that only forgives specific sins. A God that loves everyone and forgives all sins.
So, what is my purpose for writing this you may ask? Honestly… great question. I guess, be careful with the church you worship at. Make sure that it is founded on God’s Word, and not a man-made doctrine. Also, just love each other. I don’t care if someone is a homosexual, I don’t care if someone has sex if they aren’t married. How can we be a good witness to someone if we close ourselves off from the world or push them away? Everyone needs witnessed to, and everyone deserves to be loved and know of a loving savior that is willing to forgive them of their sin, if only they ask Him.
Life pushes us down enough, and there are too many people around us that put us down, belittle us, and make us feel worthless or dumb. Let’s be the kinds of people that build one another up.
Thank you all, and love you all.