Christianity, Simplified :: Where I am

I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian people, claiming Christianity is the way and that their interpretation of Christianity is the right way. It’s easy for a simple religion, or what Christian’s like to call a “relationship” to get complicated with interpretations of scripture, doctrines, and even bible translations. Before you know it, the religion that you thought was founded on love turns out to be a group of uptight people with lots of rules and guidelines to follow, and to hell with you if you happen to disagree.

Eventually, if you find yourself facing differences with church/spiritual leaders you’re bound to feel like someone on the bad side of the Red Queen while she’s declaring “off with her head!”. Obviously (thankfully) not all church groups, spiritual leaders, or christians are this adamant or uptight about their interpretation. It is because of these people, the ones who know what Christianity is really about, that I am still a Christian today.

We can debate all day about spiritual gifts, modesty, lifestyle, family, Bible translations, gender roles, the list goes on. In the big picture though, is the girl who was always modest going to be more holy or honored in heaven than a girl who was a prostitute prior to finding grace? Or are they both going to be loved and accepted equally? Is the large homeschool family going to have a better place and more favor with God than the couple who loves Him just as much? Or will they both be honored and met at the gates with “well done, my good and faithful servants?”

Unlike us, God doesn’t measure us in terms of who we are or what we did or how much we gave, because He loves people, regardless. It’s us people, who claim to be great spiritual christians, who are constantly evaluating which one of us is holier or has stronger faith because they’ve lost a home, faced death multiple times in childbirth, became a missionary and lived in poverty, became a major evangelist, or pastor a church.

It seems to me, more often than not, that it’s we, who claim to teach love and mercy, who are the ones who are showing the least love of all. We go from being excited about finding unconditional love and wanting to share that, to becoming condescending, legalistic, my way or the highway Christians claiming to be serving God with their whole life and trusting Him in everything. Our simple faith turns into a complex practical work based religion (though, obviously not by works, but faith without works is dead, so gosh people). We no longer revel in the love of our savior but constantly add weight and baggage to our load for the cause, because it’s what we feel or think, believe even, that we need to do in order to gain favor with God. Often times this causes us to lose sight of the fact that there are people who need love – sometimes, we are so caught up in being “right” about the little things, that we don’t care who we hurt.

If this constant worrying and trying to be oh-so-holy is what Christianity is supposed to be, and I’m missing it, then I understand why people think it’s worthless. A religion that claims to be about love and about the Creator accepting you for who you are and calling you good for no other reason than because He loves you, but really seems to be about inter-denominational feuds and relationship defining secondary-issue differences, is not something I want to be part of. This isn’t the point of Christianity, if this is all that we think it is, we’ve missed the point by miles.

And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:28-31

I believe, simply, that this is what real christianity is about, this is the bottom line :: He loved us so He came, died, and rose again. All we need to be concerned about is loving Him, and loving each other.

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