I have been a Christian for 10 years. Sure, I grew up being told the story of Christianity, but I didn’t find it for myself until my sophomore year in high school. The biggest problem I had with it was I saw the people that claimed to follow this man named Jesus, and they weren’t something I wanted to affiliate myself with. Hypocrites, adulterers, judgmental and close-minded people who put themselves up on a pedestal because of something they believed in when they forgot to get to know their God at all. I watched my Catholic school teachers preach God’s word and then scold me for my socks being too short, or my shirt being untucked — but turn a blind eye to the bullying and abuse I suffered from my peers right under their noses. I saw people spit Bible verses at each other, twisting and manipulating their context and meaning to further their own selfish agenda. I saw my friend’s father wake up early every morning to read his Bible and attend daily mass, and insist that his family do the same, and then sit down on the couch in the evening and drink a 12-pack of beer to himself and go into a rage and physically abuse his son. I saw hate crimes and slander all in God’s name because of ignorance and fear. I don’t even need to mention the atrocities that this community has committed against the LGBT community. If this is what Christianity was all about then I was done.
Then life circumstances had me reeling and feeling the need to once and for all figure out what I believed in and why — despite human portrayal of religion. It took me a long time to realize that spirituality and religion are two entirely separate entities: one about God and the other about humanity’s interpretation of Him. One all holy and the other unclean. Humanity at its core is broken, ugly, and selfish. From our very first words we never had a problem saying “mine”. We had to learn slowly over time how to take another’s perspective and how to empathize with each other. So if religion is humanity’s interpretation of spirituality, it is bound to be flawed, manipulative, and imperfect. But just because we do an atrociously awful job at reflecting who God is and what He stands for doesn’t make Him flawed, manipulative, or imperfect. Christianity teaches to love each other as God has loved us, because our love comes from Him. He pours into us so that we can pour into each other. Don’t judge each other, because who are we to condemn someone else? We all struggle with something — just because someone else’s struggles are different than yours doesn’t make you a better person. We are equals in the eyes of God and we are here to serve each other — not alienate anyone for what they do or do not believe. He is the ultimate judge of the heart and thank God it is not up to us.
So, Christians all over the world… stop giving us a bad name. It’s not about what you’ve done or haven’t done. It’s not about following a set of rules. It’s not about invoking fear into the hearts of non-believers. It’s not about what you say, it’s about knowing that you are loved unconditionally and using that joy in your heart to love others. It’s about HIS love for us, that He gives unconditionally and amazingly that allows us to have the ability to love each other in a fraction of a way that He has loved us. So stop fighting over the details. All that matters is that every day we are forgiven and loved. We live in perfect freedom because of an incredibly all-loving Creator. So what about that, exactly, has caused you to spread such hate and judgment?
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” -Gandhi