I grew up Christian and still consider myself a Christian. I love the principles that I’ve been taught and I still practice many of them. To an extent I feel like I missed out a little on the cool things that my friends were doing and I wasn’t allowed to do because it was considered a sin. As an adult, I’ve learned that some of the precepts that I was taught were fanatical and not truly what God wanted from me. I’ve learned to walk with God on my own and developed a relationship with him. I feel like sharing these hardships that I faced will cause a ruckus and I’ll get judged by my brothers and sisters in Christ, but I feel like this may help a young person that’s confused about what to follow and how to decipher what’s of God and what isn’t. I pray that one day, as a church, we will cease to judge each other on trivial technicalities and focus truly on what important; spreading God’s love.
1. Rock music is from the devil.
Yeah, someone actually said this to me. Every time I listened to Korn or Linkin Park, I felt like the biggest sinner. Just because you’re listening to a killer guitar solo, doesn’t mean you’re any further from God than if you were just listening to classical music.
2. You shouldn’t wear black nail polish.
Only Goths wear it and Goths worship the devil. Really? Goths do wear black nail polish and some do follow paganism, but black nail polish is also just very cool. It’s just a nail color like any other and nowhere in the Bible does it say that black nail polish is against God.
3. You should fast at the beginning of every year.
You should start the year by causing yourself physical affliction so that you can be closer to God all year. So that your flesh can be kept under control and your sinful nature can remain suppressed!
Um, ok? So, I definitely honor fasting. It’s a good thing and in some cases, I do think denying one’s self is a healthy exercise. I don’t believe, however, that it will cause you to have a better year. Our sinful nature is very real and doesn’t ever go away, so if you fast in January or in mid April, it really makes no difference. Humans sin regardless if they’re hungry or not and quite frankly, I probably sin more when I’m fasting and hangry.
4. MTV will cause you to go astray.
Ok, maybe. Just kidding! MTV is a fountain of interesting television, to say the least, but I don’t think we watch shows on there and want to live like the people who are featured. Or maybe that’s just me?
5. You can’t befriend, associate with, or date non-Christians.
This one bothers me the most. If our job as Christians is to spread the good news of salvation, we’re going to have to encounter some people who don’t know who Jesus is. To disassociate one-self from non-Christians completely defeats the purpose of Christianity. Jesus ate with lepers and spoke to prostitutes. Last I heard, we’re supposed to be following his example.
6. You have to pray for hours at a time.
To be heard you must pray long and hard. I happen to believe that God is perfectly capable of hearing my prayer whether I whisper it or whether I get straight to the point and do it in five minutes. The perfect way to communicate with God is the way you do it. No one should dictate the how or the when.
7. Tattoos will take you a step closer to hell.
Nope. Sorry. Everyone always brings up Leviticus when it comes to this, but if you read the entire passage it also says we cannot eat meat with blood in it- adios medium rare burgers. It also says you can’t trim your beard or cut the hair near your temples. I guess only really hairy fellows will be allowed into heaven. It also says that we must treat foreigners with kindness and lately, all you see is racism and prejudice towards people who are foreign in any given part of our country, particularly in states where Christianity is booming.
8. You have to work for your spot in heaven.
Heaven is a gift for those who want to receive it. When it’s your birthday and people give you gifts, no one makes you do anything to be able to keep your gifts. They’re yours forever once they’ve been given to you. If you accept the gift, it’s yours. End of story.
9. If you don’t pray before you eat, what you’re eating might kill you.
I don’t always pray before I eat. Sometimes I do it after. Sometimes I don’t pray at all. Thinking that prayer will save you from salmonella is naïve. Christmas of 2014 I got food poisoning and spent a night in the hospital puking my guts out. I said grace before we ate dinner that night and I still got sick. If it’s meant to happen to you, it will.
10. Not tithing is stealing from God.
Countless times I’ve heard people say that. You have to give 10% of everything you earn back to God! Last I checked he owns the entire earth and everything that’s in it. He owns your 100%, actually. Not just your 10. We should give out of gratitude, not fear.