So many people in our culture skew the true meaning of what it is to be a Christian. Being a Christian is a lifestyle, not a religion. Being a Christian is NOT judging those who do not walk the same path as you. We are called to see the beauty in the broken. Jesus ate with the sinners and yet we look darkly upon those who have made mistakes, but what we don’t seem to understand is that everyone deserves grace. This poem written by Jefferson Bethke, that I have posted below, is a perfect depiction of how I view the church. I honestly feel that many in the church are intolerant and judgmental. I love Jesus with all my heart, but I abhor how religion has been abused and controlled. It has been corrupted by the very people who placed, or have been placed by others on “holier than thou” pedestals. When are we going to finally accept that one person is not better than the other? We are equals on every level of the spectrum and we have no right to be as entitled as we are.
I cannot convey to you the fear and shame that I have struggled with because of my own mistakes in my short life. For years I strayed as far as I could from our Heavenly Father, because I did not believe that someone like me deserved to be in such a spectacular presence. I chose people that were poisonous for me because I believed that I deserved to have them in my life. I believed that I had earned all of my struggles and all of my pain.
I grew up in a Catholic private school, uniforms and all. I experienced the animosity of religion at a very early age. I wasn’t baptized into the Catholic religion like the other children, so they excluded me from several activities in the church. I couldn’t receive Communion, and was always stared at questionably by the other children and parents. I also had to sit while everyone else in my class had their special Communion service. It was not only embarrassing but I began to feel less of myself, as if because I couldn’t receive these “gifts” that I was somehow unworthy. I began to believe this as the years went on.
I loved to sing. I didn’t care for the sermons that the priest would so elaborately tell, but I would sing my little heart out. Even as an adult, that is when I feel closest to Him. When I got older, I joined several different churches to find the right fit for me. I have always been able to sing pretty, we will call it. Let’s face it, I’m no American Idol. Singing in the church bands though was no problem. I tried to join them, but some way or another, they would find a way or a reason to kick me out. Eventually I got sick of the rejection and stopped trying.
Please understand, I am not saying that all people who attend church are like this! However, in my own experiences, this is what made me leave. But if all you got out of this is the rejection I faced, then you missed the point entirely. I wanted a few examples of why I no longer attend church, but pray as often as I can. Why I no longer sing in a choir, but will continue to sing ,with all of my heart and soul, to my Heavenly Father. Because JESUS is greater than religion.
You do not need to attend some fancy congregation to have a relationship with the almighty God. “Jesus came to ABOLISH religion.” If you have sins that need confession, pray to HIM! Do not go and confess these personal accounts to those of man who simply tell you to say a few Hail Marys as some sort of penance and be on your way. Repent to your Father, the only one who has already taken those sins off of your shoulders. For He has and is the only one who can set you free! “Religion makes you BLIND, Jesus makes you SEE.”
Jefferson Bethke: Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus || Spoken Word