I have juggled with the idea of writing on this topic for months, and I’ve always had a different reason for not writing it. It will offend someone, I don’t want the debate, I don’t have an exact opinion, etc. But today, I had my last straw. A friend of mine has recently changed their life status and made the comment that they were no longer considering themselves a Christian, but they did NOT say that they were denying the existence of God or even that they didn’t have a relationship with God. However, left and right, people were apologizing for that person and saying that God still loved them. Since when does God not love us as much if we don’t follow a specific religion? Well, that’s what I am going to talk about.
For years, people in the “church” have branched off into many different religions all revolving around the same God, just with a different set of rules and “beliefs”. Christianity is, and has always been, one of the major “branches” if you will, and being a former (yes I said FORMER) christian, I know how judgemental and strict the religious group can be. I also know that, even though the word “cult” is usually shunned upon in the church, they are not far from it. There are rules, regulations, set meeting times and days, group events, and on and on it goes. There is also an unspoken initiation process even though there will be much denial. You can come into the church, go along with the scene, but until you have openly raised your hand and publicly accepted God as your lord and savior, you aren’t “really” a christian. Now, I do not it any sense want you to think that I am trying to talk badly about the christian group because I was in that group and its because of them that I am where I am today. I do, however, want everyone, including those of the christian religion, to be aware that these traits are in fact present and offensive to certain people.
Here is the moral of the story. Do we have to be a Christian to have a relationship with God? My answer is….. NO!!!! You don’t!!! Sure, it is great to be part of a community or church. The support is amazing, common interests and beliefs, etc. But, the guilt when you have broken one of the simple rules is unnecessary. Why do we have to be held to these silly standards? WE DON’T! Jesus never told people that in order to get into heaven, they had to be part of a religious group. He simply said to live as he did, and if we look back at the traits of Jesus, he was friends with everyone, never turned anyone away for ANY reason, and LOVED unconditionally. Love love love love love. That is ALL he wanted from us was to believe that he had come to take away the punishment for sin (death), and to LOVE! So, if that’s all we need to do, why are we requiring for “unbelievers” to walk and talk a certain way? If they’re showing kindness, love, and acceptance, then where are they going wrong? So I don’t believe that we have to have a “title”. I have a wonderful, amazing, faith filled relationship with my God, but I haven’t been a part of a church in years. I do NOT call myself a christian because I don’t follow the same “rule” system that they do. I drink, I have a tattoo (and am getting another next week), I wasn’t a virgin when I got married, I have been drunk (not too drunk because I don’t like the feeling lol), I curse more than I know I should, and I blow up at my loved ones way more than I would like. But, I know for a 100% fact that my God loves me for exactly who I am. I also know that I can be and do whatever, and God would never forsake me.
How, you ask, can I live so lax and free? Well, freedom! That’s how! When Jesus came to earth, then died on the cross, he took away the rules and regulations! He took away the consequences for OUR sins. That doesn’t mean we can go around acting a fool and doing whatever we like. He still wants us to live in love and try to always do the most loving thing, and that applies to everything. Drinking alcohol for example. This is a classic argument. Drinking alcohol, the act of, in my opinion is not a sin. However, if you’re drinking a lot, and you know you have to drive your friends, kids, whoever, home, and still get plastered, then in my opinion, that would be a sin. You’re not thinking about the other people, and you care more about drinking and having fun than taking care of the well being of the other members of your party. So you can take that equation, love>all, and apply it to any situation at all, and you will be able to find the answer every time! and if the answer isn’t coming clearly to you, put yourself in the other persons shoes, and if you wouldn’t like being on the other end of that, then don’t do it.
Homosexuality. I will briefly bring this up simply because it’s another topic that I have avoided talking about. Not because I disagree with it, but because until today, I have not been able to explain my feelings/opinions about the subject. I have several friends who have long since, and recently, come out, and although I have fully loved each of them just the same, I haven’t been able to say whether I agreed with them or not. Well, today, I realized that I don’t have to agree with them or not agree with them, I can just love them! I don’t have to have a specific opinion, because it doesn’t matter! The only person who can tell for sure the outcome of those who choose to be homosexual is God, and therefore, he is the only one with the right to judge them. I don’t mean judge them negatively, but judge their motive and lives. Growing up, I was told (by Christians) that if someone was homosexual, they were going to Hell, and that they had to “come back around” and get their life on track if they wanted a good relationship with God. Therefore, I grew up believing that, and it wasn’t until just recently that I had a complete 180 turn around in my belief system. Gay marriage started being legalized, and opinions started popping up everywhere, and I felt at war with myself because I knew that God wanted me to love, but then my mind was telling me that it was the all terrible worst sin ever. Luckily, I was reminded of one thing, and that was that, no sin is worse than another. All sins are equal in Gods eyes. So, if I punch someone because I was mad at them and wanted them to be hurt, in my eyes, that would be a sin. God told us not to have relations with the same sex, so in my eyes again, homosexuality could be a sin. You might say that punching someone is forgivable and is a “little” sin, but just because you wouldn’t be willing to forgive a homosexual doesn’t mean that God isn’t. Also, I’m not even sure that I believe homosexuality is a sin. I’m still looking into it and defining my belief on that, but Jesus took away the consequence for ALL sin, therefore making sin definable. So, just like alcohol, there is the possibility that homosexuality could be a sin for one person because they feel that it is, yet it could be completely fine for another person who don’t see it as a sin. I’m not proclaiming that as a truthful opinion, but I’m definitely saying it’s a possibility.
Before you judge someone so quickly because they have different opinions than you, just remember that the other person is in the exact same shoes as you, but is choosing to accept you for who you are, not for being different than them.