i’ve been haunted by many things going on in the church lately, and usually i am more apt to understand or see my frustrations come out when i see religion forcing it’s way into politics. heck, i’ve even wanted to throw up when i see religion creep it’s way into the happiest of moments, because it has this way of baring down all it’s weight and suffocating the beauty, doesn’t it?
i understand the desire to spread God’s word. i totally understand the feeling and the desire of, “saving” people. who wants to think that people are going to rot in hell come judgment day like religion tells us will happen for all those who don’t live according to the bible, and the words of Jesus Christ?
i’ll admit that when i gave my life to Christ I went running towards all the opportunities i could to talk about Him. i purposely put myself into conversations, which had nothing to do with me, or God, just so i could bring Him into it, and correct their behavior. after all, that’s what good christians do, isn’t it?
lately, i’ve become more and more aware of how terrible some in the christian community treat others, all in the name of “god”. when i see this, i wonder to myself, is God smiling at this act, or is He crying?
a few weeks ago, as i was scrolling through my facebook feed i saw an image of two men holding a newborn against their skin. like always, i clicked on the comments section to see what the discussion on this image would involve – even though i was pretty sure i already knew. sure enough, there was a slew of arguments going on, none of which pertained to the couple in the image.
i read comments like, “this is beautiful!” and “disgusting! this is an abomination! poor child!” and none of this shocked me. what did shock me though, was the response of the people saying how disgusting the image was when they would be “picked on” for their thoughts.
in response to people telling them to “shut up” [i’m paraphrasing in a much nicer way than was said to them], they said,
“why are you judging me and silencing me for my beliefs? You people [supporters of gay marriage and homosexuality, or non-religious people] want me to accept your believes and give you a platform, but you want me to just be quiet, just because my beliefs don’t align with yours. It’s hypocritical.. why is it okay to bully me and not okay for me to say what God clearly says in the bible. it’s your judgement day.” (I’m paraphrasing)
i took a deep breath and gnawed on the inside of my cheek, because that’s what all good writers do when they ponder, while i processed what i just read. i felt my spirit shift in her seat. this is always a sign for me that God has something good to say, so i waited, and waited. . . and waited. . .
i thought about the times in my [recent] life that i have been “persecuted” or “misjudged” simply because i am a christian. i thought about the biases i have as a christian towards other faiths and lifestyles and i wondered, “am i really being persecuted if i inserted myself into a situation that had nothing to do with me in the beginning?”
Let’s break this down.
i live in the usa, where it is almost expected that i am a christian or a follower of Christ. recently, i read an article (here) that points out how privileged this position is, and while i don’t agree with everything in the article (perhaps because i’m privileged enough to deny my own privilege), it does have truths which i cannot deny, my first point being one of them. one of the other privileges that we, as christians have, is that many people know “our” stances on things such as abortion, and sexuality.
with that in mind, is it really necessary for christians to involve themselves in discussions of homosexuality on social media. going a step further, if you feel social media really is the place to remind the world that “christians” (some) are against homosexuality, is in the comments section of a newborn’s picture really the right place? is that really where God is telling you to preach?
and lastly, but most importantly, does God really desire us to insert ourselves into those conversations? and if so, how do we know which ones to talk about, and which to leave alone?
i struggle a lot with the above question. i’m desperate for God to show me the way, every single day. i long to know i am doing good by God, and i ask Him this all the time. but, i’m not a pro at it. in fact, some times i simply fail. failure isn’t all bad, but when we fall so far from Gods calling on us that we push people away from Him, that’s a big deal.
i began to wonder if being persecuted was an expectation of being christian rather than a nasty side effect. If i wasn’t being persecuted, was i even being a good christian?
the bible promises us we will be persecuted for our faith for years to come in verses like,
2 timothy 3: 12 in fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus, will be persecuted.
And even give us verses to meditate on should the persecution get too bad (jerimiah 20:11, pslams 9:13, 119:86, or john 15:18 & 20). I am sure many Christians know those verses. The ones that give us strength to be persecuted. But how many of us know, and meditate on these?
“understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: you must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry” james 1:19,
“even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” proverbs 17:28.
“whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.” proverbs 11:12
“the lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” exodus 14:14,
“not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. for we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. if we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. so also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. how great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” james 3: 1-18
why aren’t these verses spoken more? in fact, the only times i ever hear these verses is when a victim of domestic or sexual violence tries to become vocal about the abuse they are experiencing (aside from the last verse of course). is this a deeper message God is trying to tell us? do we really believe our God, whose son died on the cross for us, desires us to speak out against homosexuality more than sexual abuse of children? (ehem, catholic church, i’m talking to you) to correct more than love? or is this a way of religion, another form of government, to apply laws to our life?
1 john 3:18 says, “my little children, let us not love in words or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.” I love this verse. this is a hard verse to follow, especially for a writer. too often we are quick to throw up our hands and say, “God called me to do it!” as if it makes it okay to use our words to belittle, discourage, and oppress other individuals.
i see too many christians using words like, “judgment day” as tactics to get others to concede or to excuse their behavior. it aggravates me. i cannot excuse my flesh by using the word of God. He has defeated and destroyed the enemy which once chained me to sin. i no longer have an excuse to be bound by sin and sinful thoughts. i cannot be a follower of Christ in one side of my life, yet a servant of the enemy and flesh in the other side. i’m not suggesting we be perfect, as i know this is impossible, but i am suggesting we control our tongues more, and focus on love rather than judgment.
i can already sense the dispute, “but we are called to correct others! that is loving!” so let’s address that now. what is love? 1 john 4: 8 tells us that “God is love.” if God is love, then to truly love, i would produce the fruit of the spirit in my works, which are; love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
how many of you, writing on social media posts about homosexuality produce these by your words? how many of you use self-control when writing things or discussing things? i’m not saying you can’t insert yourselves in these discussions. all i am saying is you can’t use God as a crutch to do so. you want to hate one someone, go ahead, but don’t tell me God told you to do it.
i’ve provided the link to the website i got the image from. take a look at his article on what persecution of christians really is.
until next time!