Keeping Unity

We have gone over the idea of leaving your religious labels behind, and many of you have balked at that idea. I have heard many concerns that my “ideas” can be harmful to our Godly relationship or that I am not speaking Godly things. Because of this, I have been praying about what I need to do to confirm my so called “ideas” with you. God told me to read the full chapter of Ephesians 4. Starting in verse 2 through verse 6, it says “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all in all.” This is exactly what we’re shooting for here. To BRING BACK our unity of the Spirit. Let’s dissect each verse to get a better understanding of what we’re looking at.

First we look at where it talks about our actions towards each other. “Be completely humble and gentle…”. These are not easy aspects to truly grab hold of. One can easily say that they are humble and/or gentle, but what do those words really mean? According to the Webster’s dictionary, the word “humble” means not proud or haughty; not arrogant or assertive. It also means reflecting, expressing, or offered in a spirit of submission; a ranking low in a hierarchy. So to be COMPLETELY humble, we have to set everyone else above us and not see ourselves as better than anyone else. Gentle means “free from harshness and violence.” I don’t necessarily think it’s referring to only physical harshness or violence, but verbally and mentally. We as believers need to realize that we are ALL on the same level. One very big reason that I have begun searching for more than a home church is because the attitude of the church has become very opposing towards each other. It’s supposed to be a group of people getting together to fellowship, encourage each other, and build up others in God, but instead you have a group of judgemental gossipers who put on a pretty face for the crowd. Now, I’m not saying I’m perfect. I definitely have my downfalls in the gossip and judgement areas, but at least I’m not pretending like I don’t. I’m still working on my humility and gentleness, but I’m just me. I’m not one person at church and another outside the doors. But, let’s get back on track…

“Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Patience is probably one of the hardest things to practice simple because it is so easy to get caught up in ourselves. But when we start putting others before us, these other aspects come a little easier because your mind is getting geared towards doing what’s best to help the other person. The rest of the verses have what I want to mostly be focused on today. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through peace”. This is where I feel that the body of Christ has begun to fail. There is unity within the churches, the groups of believers coming together, but the unity between those different churches has quietly begun to drift. As I talked about in an earlier post, the different denominations and religions are not in unity as one. There is too much differentiation between congregations due to a division of mindset. Each church has is own interpretation of what God is saying, and they have begun to add their own spin to things. Therefore, we have churches quietly fighting against each other, attempting to convert and carry over people from one denomination to another, and celebrating when someone “converts”. But if we look at what the bible is saying, to make EVERY effort to keep the UNITY of the Spirit in PEACE, we can see that this is the body’s downfall. We should be joining together simply as believers, putting all personal feelings and beliefs aside, making others more important that ourselves, and focusing on the one thing we all have in common which is God. We know this should be true because there is only ONE God, ONE Lord, and ONE faith. Not a separate one for each belief system.

Thus, why is it so hard for us to get along? Well, pride. It’s as simple as that. We have gotten so brainwashed into believing that our church is better than yours because… or that our religion is better than yours. It is a ridiculous and sad issue that can be resolved if we can all learn to ACTUALLY get along. I emphasize “actually” because every person of every religion will say that they are fine with other religions and they’re “just glad they’re in church”, but in reality, they praise God when a catholic becomes a christian, or a Mormon becomes a catholic. So, what I’m encouraging you is not to go try an make a bunch of friends from different religions so that you can be more religiously socialized, but to begin changing your mindset on what it is you need to do in order to serve God best. Begin finding out who you are in God instead of what your roll in the church is. For some, the best way that you can show God’s love and help others is to be in a church serving and mentally feeding others. But don’t let your “label” define your relationship with God. Let God show you what you need to be doing and not doing, and ask him how you can build a stronger relationship with other believers in AND outside of your church.

 

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There’s nothing wrong with going to church, or not. 

I know a few of my latest posts have caused some controversy, and I want to clarify a few things, and explain that my whole goal here is to create more unity within believers, not separation. I’ll start by saying that I am not against going to church. I’m not against following a specific religion. If you feel that being a Christian is best for you, or being a Pentecostal is best, then do it! There is absolutely nothing wrong with you needing guidelines to help you with your relationship with God. I am completely for walking the path God has you on. So you do you!!! My goal is not to try and convince people that they don’t need church or religion. I fully believe that it is a necessary thing to fellowship with other believers. My goal is to get believers to stop letting their religious mindsets keep them from truly being able to share Gods love with others. 

     You might think that you are living love in every aspect of life, but do you shut out those with negative beliefs? Do you correct or argue with others about who is right or wrong? Don’t worry, we all do it at some point, but in order to really show people who God is, and to minister to those who need God, we have to be accepting of all lifestyles. No, we don’t have to LIVE all lifestyles, but if our first instinct is to run away from the “bad” stuff and “bad” people, then how will they ever see God for who he really is? 

     I believe God created Church to be a support system. Somewhere that ALL believers and non- believers can go when they need to feel loved and accepted. Not JUST christians or JUST mormons. I don’t believe that God intended for believers to be so divided against each other. That’s why I’ve been saying things such as getting rid of our religious Labels and simply get together as believers to support each other’s relationship with God Without judging each other’s personal lifestyles. As long as we are following the holy spiri’ts guide in our own actions, then we can relate to everyone else around us. We don’t have to shy away from others simply because they choose to make different life choices than us. 

    I don’t believe that going to church should be an obligation, but instead a choice guided by our need. And we in turn shouldn’t judge those who choose not to attend church weekly. Again, church should be a place, or rather a group, where believers and non believers can gather and encourage each other in their walk with God. 

     Therefore, when I make comments about not having labels or searching outside the box, I don’t mean that we should all just throw out all moral and do what we feel is good. I mean that we should accept everyone for who they are and how they are living, and then offer advice on how certain lifestyle changes could possibly better their lives. No one is perfect, not even you, so don’t start Trying to tell people how they should be living, and where and when they should be going to church. 

Losing your labels

Religion is a funny thing. Now, before everyone gets their panties in a wad over a misunderstanding, let me clarify myself. Religion, as in rules, regulations, laws, and so on, is a funny thing. We all grew up with some sort of religious background whether it was a church upbringing, or an anti-church upbringing. Therefore, we all have a set of beliefs that we have followed for our entire lives. This set of beliefs that we devote our entire life to is the same one that tends to tear us apart from those who have a different set of beliefs. We all were told over and over to believe this one set of beliefs, and that anyone who tried to tell us otherwise was wrong, so we should do what we can to “convert” said people from the other, here comes that tricky word, “religions”. What people aren’t stopping to ask themselves is “is there really only one RIGHT religion?”. We have been so stuck on knowing, understanding, and fully following our ONE religion, that it’s somewhat, or even completely, locked us into a very tight box. So what we’re going to do is briefly unlock that religion box, open that lid RIGHT open, and poke our heads out for a bit. Now, don’t be afraid. I’m not going to try and convince you that your religion is bad and that you’ve been wrong your whole life and that you shouldn’t believe anything that anyone tells you about church, God, or religion. But what I AM going to tell you will most likely make you a little nervous, but hopefully in a good way.

Let’s start by unlocking our box. Go ahead, grab that key that YOU OWN which is right in front of you, even though you’ve probably been told that their were monsters outside to get you if you opened your box, and turn that lock. Let’s imagine that it actually IS okay to question our religion…. GASP*!!!! NO STOP!!! I know, crazy right? But SURPRISE! it is! We’re not questioning God, that’s not what this is about at ALL! We’re questioning the religion, the set of beliefs we grew up believing, that we are part of. It’s a very difficult thing to do for two reasons. One, our initial instinct is to stop questioning because we’re afraid that we will somehow lose our faith in doing so. This is a silly reason because our faith should not be built on the people, rules, and “guidelines” of our religion. It should be built on God and God alone. The rest of the “church” stuff is simply a tool. Secondly, we don’t know how to do God without those guidelines. It’s easy to just simply do what you’re told, but what do we do when we don’t know what we should do? So lets say we’ve begun questioning our set religion, and we have found that we don’t necessarily agree with those beliefs anymore. Do we find a new religion? Do we start a new religion? What now?

That leads us to our second step. Let’s go ahead and open up our box. Don’t freak out, we’re not peeking out just yet. But don’t just slowly open it as if in fear, swing that sucker wide open! Now, let’s think of this crazy idea that maybe, just maybe, we don’t need a religion at all! AHHH!!! I know! mind blown! But seriously, what is the point of a set religion? What do you benefit from said “religion”? You have your churches rules, things they say you can and can’t do, set service times, etc.. etc.. But what do we really need those rules for? Who decided we needed rules? Jesus died on the cross so that we didn’t have to have all of the rules to keep us from going to Hell, and he left us with the holy spirit to guide us daily. He also said that above all else, Love. Love your neighbors, Love your enemies… So wouldn’t it make sense to stop following sets of rules, because we all have a different set, and simply follow God? It’s scary to think that we would, in theory be out in this crazy world alone. But you really aren’t. God is always around! Any and everywhere, and you can have one on one conversations with him. You don’t need a 12 week “talking to God” course. Just talk, and listen. Getting back on track, if you look at the facts, it just makes sense. There are hundreds of different religions, all with different beliefs, but they all have one thing in common and that is God. God sent Jesus to live a perfect life, take every sin of ours even before we committed it, and die with it so that we didn’t have to. Jesus set us free so that we could go out and live in Love. So think of everything you could accomplish if you didn’t have a label holding you back? I have been to several churches that wouldn’t let you be a part of the worship team, prayer team, children’s ministry, etc.. if you took part in “worldly” things. Things such as drinking, smoking, cursing, sex before marriage, you name it. So they would tell you that because you did things they didn’t agree with, you couldn’t express God’s love. Does that make sense??? NO! Now, because of this type of behavior for years and years, those who have decided they like “having fun”, have been completely turned away from God. Not because they don’t believe in God, but because they have been told that they couldn’t be a Godly person who would get into heaven if they did the things they were doing. So, let’s do this; throw away your label. Just don’t call yourself anything. Now you’re simply a believer in God and Jesus. No man made rules, nothing holding you back. How likely is it now that a “non-believer” will feel more comfortable talking to a nice, loving, accepting individual, take advice from them, and listen to what they have to say if this person doesn’t try to convert them to their set of boring rules and laws? I’m not saying that no religion means you can just do whatever the heck you want with no consequences, but if the only law we need to worry about is Loving one and other, then why do we need religion?

Now, we’re going to go ahead and peek our little heads right out of the top of this box. Go ahead! I know some of you already have shut and locked your little religion box back up, and that’s okay, just read with an open mind. Peek out and let’s see what could be. Now, because of our religions, we have not only put our own minds into a tight box, but we’ve also put God in a box. Don’t get defensive, it’s not your fault, but you can change it. We have placed God in our box of personal knowledge. This means we have limited God to what we know, and for many of us, that’s very little. You could think you’re the smartest person alive, but when it comes to God, we know just the bare minimum. But why? Well, because we’ve been taught to shut out science because “all scientists are atheists who only believe in the big bang theory”, we’ve been taught to not listen to others beliefs, and we’ve been taught to just follow the rules and we can make it to heaven. Our whole lives have been about simply doing well to get to heaven, but nothing else. Have you thought that maybe God created this world for something a little more? That maybe he created the world for us to enjoy? Don’t go crazy and just get buck wild now, but…. why not? Could there be a possibility that we can be that “crazy sinner” but also have an extremely strong, loving, true relationship with God? That we could also be one of the most loving people some may ever meet?

If we remove our labels, free ourselves from ourselves, and simply focus on God, how far can we go? Science has shown that molecules literally react to the situation their in. It’s shown that a molecule will act one way when alone, but as soon as it’s being watched, it will act a completely different way. That’s AMAZING! But, that’s God! Our attitudes and emotions can literally change an atmosphere simply by us walking into it. I’m saying this because I want you to understand that God is SO much bigger than you know. SO much bigger than you will EVER know. Just when I think I am starting to understand, I learn something else that completely flips my world upside down. If God had an end, we would find it and then have no reason to search. So let’s start searching with an open mind. But it all starts by losing the rules, losing the limitations that have been set for us, and go at EVERYTHING with an open mind. Look at lesbians and gays with Loving eyes instead of converting eyes. Look at drunks and prostitutes with open eyes instead of judgemental eyes. Look through Gods eyes. God doesn’t hate his people, God loves them all, and it doesn’t really matter what you think about them, so stop. Jesus wasn’t part of a specific religion. He didn’t force people to believe in him, and he certainly didn’t just give up on them when they didn’t want to follow him. Jesus saw the bigger picture and stayed focused on God.

I have said a lot of things lately that have cause a bunch of ripple within my family and friends, but I have learned to not let it bother me one bit because I know exactly where I stand with God, I know where my family stands with God, and I know that no matter how many people are at riffs with me that I love them no matter what.

Get out of your box and go find God in the world instead of trying to get people to come find God in your box.

Be completely present

Lately I’ve been changing my eating habits and exercising more often, which is not new effort for me, but this time around, things have just been different. It’s been easier to get up and go to the gym, I haven’t been tempted to eat badly as often as other attempts, and I realized that it is because of one change. I changed who I was doing it for. It was difficult to to change myself to satisfy people and stereotypes around me because those were constantly changing. What I thought could change the way I felt ended up just making me feel worse about myself. This led to being disappointed in myself for “failing” at a game where there were no winners. It sucked! To constantly feel as if you could never be good enough or could never please everyone is a very dim place to be. Because of this, I would fall back into my bad eating habits which would in turn add to the depression, if you will, which would effect my motivation to get up and exercise. It was a vicious cycle that never ended. I started praying about what I should do to fix my problem, and God immediately showed my where I needed to make cuts. There were small things like getting off of certain medications that were causing mood swings and such, but the biggest area was who I was changing my life for.  I realized that I needed to stop trying to please everyone AROUND me, and start bettering, NOT changing, myself to please God, and to be a better asset to those around me. It is amazing how a simple change of focus can effect everything in your life. Once my motivation turned from trying to change myself, into trying to better my life in order to be more helpful to those around me, my results instantly turned into what I was trying to achieve.

Not only have I been able to meet my eating, exercise, and weight-loss goals, but my thoughts have been opening and expanding. God has been showing me areas in my thought processes that I can be working on daily. I began focusing on the “why” of it all, and I was immediately brought to Colossians 3:23: “Whatever you do, work at it with all of your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters”. My “why” changed from pleasing others, to doing it for God with the intentions of bettering my life in order to be able to serve those around me. If I am sluggish, depressed, and unhealthy, I can’t be there 100% for my family, and I’m setting a bad lifestyle for my kids. Also, this verse hit right on point with not just my health, but several other areas in my life. For example, my attitude towards disciplining my kids has changed from being a dictator, which I hadn’t even noticed I had become, to being a mother whose goal is to raise loving, understanding, listening, caring, helpful children. But how could I raise that kind of person if my attitude was such that was stubborn, ignorant, bossy, rude, and wasn’t willing to listen? It’s not possible, it’s as simple as that. Those around you, especially your children, watch, and are influenced, by your actions. As much as you try to force it, they learn by what you do, not by what you say. So if you’re telling them to act, eat, or even play a certain way, but you yourself are not portraying those habits, they might do it momentarily to please you, but in the long run, they will act the way you act.

Once I began exercising with intentions of having a clear mind, and to release stress, I began getting the results I’ve been looking for which has been boosting my motivation even more! I’ve also been seeing my children’s habits changing because they’ve been watching me. TV time has decreased immensely, they’re attitudes have been happier and less aggressive, they sleep better, and they enjoy being outside and active more. So, one simple mindset change on my part has set off a domino effect in several other lives around me.

Therefore, if you’re going to make a lifestyle change, change it to portray God in your actions. Not just God as a person as some might imagine, but God as an action; as Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-control, Selflessness, and so on. Be present in body AND in mind, and remember that your actions and words go a lot further than just being said. Words can, and will, make an impact on someone around you even if it’s not to the person you’re speaking to. Open your mind to change, but change, not to please those around you, but to be able to show God to those around you with your everyday lifestyle.

For those who took my last post on Christianity and Homosexuality wrong…

Honestly, I know I shouldn’t be surprised that I’m sitting here having to write to you, but I am. Mostly because you obviously only read the parts of that post that you wanted to and didn’t finish it because if you did, you would not have gotten upset in the first place. So, without further ado, I will explain my reasoning behind my choices in religion, and my opinion on homosexuality, and it will hopefully be in terms that you can understand.

I do not call myself a christian. Why? Well I’ll tell you. I grew up in a christian church, and although it taught me some good things and was a good experience, I was taught a lot of different things about being a “good” christian, and a lot of them were conflicting with each other. This led me to doing my own research on said subjects because obviously I wasn’t getting a clear answer from the leaders of the church. I won’t go into detail on which subjects simply because it doesn’t matter right now. Through all of my research and PERSONAL bible studies and late nights awake talking to God, I realized that the only way I could get a clear answer is by asking the man himself! So, why was I going to bible studies and services? Well, friends to be honest, and THAT’S OK! That’s what church is for!! A place to talk and fellowship with other believers. Not a place for someone to tell me that prayers are stronger when said out loud, or a place where people tell me that God will speak louder to me when my cleavage is hidden. I don’t call myself a christian, because a lot of people who are not believers run when you tell them that. Why do they run? Because they are being told that they have to act and talk and walk and live JUST right, or they’re not “good” Christians. I tell people that I believe in God and have a GREAT relationship with him, and I’m more than happy to talk to them about it, but I’m not going to push or prod or guilt them into coming and sitting for 2 hours listening to stories they’ve heard a million times. Church is great, don’t get me wrong, but the indoctrination of a belief that we all have to be “good little boys and girls” is NOT my cup of tea.

Another reason I choose not to call myself a christian is because I want my kids to learn how to have a personal relationship with God. A relationship where they follow their conscience and follow the holy spirit and talk to God themselves. Not one where they have to go through all of the “cleansing” processes in order to get an appointment once a week to talk to the “boss” upstairs. Personally, that’s bogus and I prefer to be able to ask God a quick question, and know exactly when he’s talking to me and know that I’m getting good information. I don’t want my kids thinking that in order to have a relationship with God, they have to be a part of a religion. Because if they for some reason are pushed out of that church or are turned off by that particular religion, I don’t want them thinking that their relationship with God ends there because it most certainly does NOT! I’ve had too many friends say they “don’t follow God” or “don’t believe in God” anymore because someone in a church talked down to them, made them feel guilty for living a certain lifestyle, and they decided that they’d rather be able to live the way they were living instead of “believing in God”. Well, I don’t want people to think that you have to change your lifestyle in order to get into heaven! Jesus did NOT say that if we wanted to get into heaven, we had to change everything we were doing and start living a boring life, he said “believe that I am the son of God” and that he came and changed the whole game for us and made us free. So, I do believe he is the son of God and died so I didn’t have to. I firmly believe that I’m not going to hell for not going to church or not calling myself a christian. I also believe that Homosexuals are not being sent to hell for living the way they live, and I know that Jesus loves them unconditionally and I should to. I’m not going to shun them or talk behind their backs or tell them that they are wrong because I DON’T KNOW and neither should you! God is the ultimate judge, and we are here ONLY to love!!!!

So, is homosexuality a sin? I can’t say yes or no because when Jesus died on that cross, he changed the WHOLE game, so sure, to one person it might be, but to another, it might not be! In the end, it’s not my call, not my problem, not my business, so I’m just going to love them as if they were better than me. End. Of. Story.

Peace

Here I am, Pajama pants, a hot cup of coffee, kids arguing in the background, I can’t help but think so many things at once. How it’s been ages since I’ve just sat around in my pajamas (even if it is for a mom group party later), how delicious my coffee came out this morning, how exhausted I am from last night, and how I am just going to let my kids work that one out by themselves (it worked). Even with all of these thoughts and emotions, I seem to still have a sense of peace about the morning. Whether it’s from complete exhaustion from wrestling my 3 year old at midnight to get back to bed, or whether I just simply have found a way to relax through all of this, whatever it is, I’m grateful for it.

It’s been an extremely long week (mostly at night), and I’ve been pushed to my very limits. I try my hardest to be a good mom and hold it all together. My mother was a prime example of the best mom ever. She hardly ever lost it in front of us (I know her closet was her vent space lol), she somehow was able to feed, bathe, and get all 9 of us in bed or settled, and had the entire house cleaned up by 8 o’ clock every night. So that has been my goal as a mom. Even if it’s not perfect, I try to be a good mom, wife, and homemaker, but sometimes, life simply gets to you. Lately we’ve been dealing with a child who is so full of emotions that she’s not quite sure how to express them properly. One second she will be laughing and running around, and the next she will be screaming her eyes out for only God knows why. I know that she’s a very expressive girl and I try to keep that in mind when dealing with her…. bi-polar tendencies, but last night I had my last straw.

It started out as a slow morning, girls up and dressed, headed to my nanny job, spent the morning doing nothing, then back home for naps. Stopped at the store on the way home for some much needed dinner groceries, but nothing special to report. Naps went smoothly, a little fuss from the oldest, but not near what it has been some days, and even after they were up, they were still my sweet children. After dinner is always a busy time for us because we have clean up, dishes, then baths for the girls. So, during this time, I always find myself in a debate with my strong willed child over whether she should put on her panties after bath or not, or whether she needs a 12th snack before bed, but this night, we didn’t have any of that non-sense. She complied with my directions, the baby was in bed by 7, and the night was looking promising! I even got the crazy one to bed and asleep before 8! Then it all went down hill from there….

10 o’ clock rolled around, and our stupid cat decided she needed to go and terrorize my sleeping bear. So just as we’re getting ready for bed, we hear rustling from the back, cries from the sleeping…*ahem* angel… then strangely enough, sounds of the baby gate being put up. Thinking it was the dang cat messing with it, we go to grab the cat, and find our 3 year old trying to put up the gate to keep the cat out. Even after daddy assured her that wasn’t necessary and that we would put the cat away, we were met with denial and the start of a fit from the child. The small whining due to not being able to finish the quest she had set out to conquer turned into a full blown crying session. This was met with several spankings, 1000 more cries, and she was eventually put back to bed. Now, you should know that we’ve been struggling with getting her to sleep in her own bed at night, and she usually ends up coming into our room at night and sleeping with us. We would simply put her back to bed, but this has gone on so much, that we now just sleep through it. So now, we are working at her sleeping in her own room, in her own bed, ALL night.

All was calm, all was bright, and we thought we had her back to sleep. Daddy came back from the lions den to join me in closing down the house, and just as we start celebrating our victory, we see a small shadow bolt across the hallway into our bedroom. “Not again” we both say in unison, and the night had just begun, even if we thought it was almost over. For the next hour an a half, we went through countless screaming sessions from a disgruntled party who was very upset that we weren’t letting her sleep with a pile of books in the office, numerous spankings, an equal number of hugs and kisses, and several trips BACK to bed. Finally, she realized that we weren’t in fact going to let her sleep in our bed, and she decided to give up and go to sleep. That’s when I lost my cool.

My poor husband had to sit and watch/listen to me pour my heart and soul out, this crying, sobbing, blubbering, ugly mess in front of him. I cried about how I felt that I was failing as a mother and how MY kid was turning into the “bad” kid at the parties (even though that’s not really true). I cried about how I was mad that she was so stubborn and hard headed. I bawled about how I was so sick and tired of having to put her back to bed 1000 times a night. I cried in wonder of where I went wrong…. and once I had cried it all out, my face puffy and my nose completely blocked from all of the ugly crying, I was done. I had gotten it all out, and my poor soul couldn’t take anymore, and I balled up, turned over, and went to sleep.

I woke up this morning completely drained, my child STILL ended up in my bed, child gate placed gently in the living room where she had stealthily set it aside, and I felt calm. I felt like the worst was done and it could only get better from her…. I sure hope to God that I’m right.

I am not writing this to complain or have people feel sorry for me. I want my fellow mothers to know that you are not alone. Whatever you’re going through, you are not alone. Also, don’t be afraid to get ugly sometimes. We all have to be ugly once in a while, and the best person to do that with is the person closest to you. So, get ugly, cry, complain, get snotty, then, grow a pair and do what you have to do as a mom the next day.

Oh, and you should know that during this writing, I was interrupted several times by that same crying child who couldn’t zip her jacket (WWI people…), my nice hot coffee was dumped on the floor by my curious baby, the baby I nanny was woken up by said cranky child, I had to open 4 cheese sticks (WWII until they were opened), I doled out 3 spankings for tantrums that are not going to be tolerated, and now they are peaceful… for the moment. Good day everyone… Good day

Christian: To be or not to be?

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.