Hey God, Are You Still There?
"Hello, God? It's me... I thought I'd let you know people are getting offended down here... are you still there?"
This post will make some people angry, and that is okay.
At the end of the day, we all have free will. I will never force my beliefs on you, that would never do either one of us good. Let us agree to disagree and focus on what we have in common.
Let's be honest, 2020 has been literally one hell of a year so far. We have a year, that, in my opinion, is of Biblical proportions, and I am talking book of Revelation type status. It is July 2020, and we have seen a global health pandemic, a resurgence of the civil rights movement, an economic depression, record-setting unemployment, and a wild species of bees to top it all off. (This doesn't even begin to touch on the worst locust infestations in Africa in decades, threats of martial law in the Philippines and full-on food shortages in Yemen and DR Congo).
In the midst of this chaos, I would expect a "come to Jesus" altar call, with a flood of people crying out to God to forgive us and heal our land, but, no. Prayer is no longer the answer to the plights of the world. Now, to say "let's pray, or all we can do is pray" is seen as a cop-out, a soft, passive response in the face of a real evil that requires physical action. The Bible has been tossed to the side, as people, filled with frustrations, scramble to fight and survive it all.
Side Note: Don't get me wrong, I believe in action. I believe in doing something here, on earth, in the natural, but not out of my flesh. I believe in taking action only after conversing with God. He has the strategies and tools we need to win the wars within ourselves (aka, regulate your emotions) and in the world. Acting purely out of our emotions will fail us every time.
A Great Falling Away
People shun Christians; even self-professed "Christians" shun those who are too "radical" for their taste. People think that Christians are judgmental. The critics say nothing happens when people pray (at least what they would like to happen) and somehow, in conclusion, Christianity becomes obsolete. At the end of the day, as "plural" as our society is, my take is, people are not accepting of Christians, but I do understand why.
There are truly "judgmental, non-loving, so-called Christians out there, and that is part of the reason why self-professed Christians have gone down in America, especially among Millennials. As of 2019, less than half of millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten millennials are not tied to religion.”
Biblical Truths are Not All Sunshine and Rainbows
With the backdrop of judgmental Christians involuntarily hanging behind me, when I attempt to share my faith, I am automatically seen as holier than though, and phew, don't get me started on the most controversial parts of the faith:
Sex before marriage is a sin Romans 1 18:32;1 Corinthians 6 9-11
Jesus is the only way to God the Father John 14:6
...and the biggest debate of them all...
Homosexuality is sin 1 Timothy 1:8-10
The Bible does not shy away from making these points; point, blank period. It like, legit says it. Some argue interpretation, but for the common reader, this is what God says. In turn, it is hard for me to look people in the eye and share this faith that I have, because of one word...offense.
People take such great offense when you make a statement like "I believe abortion is wrong" or " I believe sex before marriage is wrong." By default, by challenging their choices. If you don't agree you are the enemy and even crazier "your" God is the enemy!
Does my faith in the Bible mean that I love people less? No. Does that mean that I hate people who do these things? Of course not! I fall short every day! Does that mean I can't have relationships with people who don't believe? No! Do LGBTQ+ lives matter? 10000%. Does sex before marriage make you a terrible person? Nah, not at all.
To those who have been offended by The Gospel, consider this story...
If your friend was about to get hit by a car, a car they did not see coming, but you did, would you not push them out of the way? Yell their name? Warn them? The friend may get annoyed and or offended by your push, or you yelling at them, but it is for their safety.
This is a great way to understand why real Christians say what they say and stand in their convictions. They have been called to "see" the unadulterated truth. They see you, in danger of not repenting and turning to God. They want to push you from the metaphorical impeding car that is set to take your life.
Whether you think that you are in sin or not, in a relationship with God or believe that there is no God, please give people the benefit of the doubt before labeling them as hypocrites that are imposing their religion on you, (or powerless people who waste time in prayer) Usually, it is genuinely out of love. Understand that it is no easier for the person telling you about what God is saying than it is for you to hear it.
Side Note: Jesus came, not to condemn, but to save the world. Moreover, in order to save the world, some people had to be offended first. Some stayed in offense (read, the religious leaders), while others moved on towards receiving forgiveness.
Speaking to most millennial Christians in specific, we do not seek to judge you, for the power is not ours to send anyone to heaven or hell. We do not seek to change you, for you have a beautiful thing called free will, given by God. Our only hope is to express who we are when asked or given the opportunity, with all respect and all love. I still value you, I still respect your decisions, I still value your life and I still believe God loves you and is waiting for you to connect with Him if you have not already. I trust in a God that will reveal Himself to any and all who seek Him, and His Holy Spirit will lead your convictions.
A Moment of Honesty
Due to the quick backlash many Christians receive, I have allowed compromise to creep into my life on multiple occasions, decreasing my convictions and suppressing the Holy Spirit within me, because I did not want to deal with the conversation and God forbid, the offense. That's a NO-NO! I can't put a piece of me to the side, just so you can be comfortable. God makes us uncomfortable in order to grow our faith and in turn, mature!
I believe in what the Bible says, I believe I am a sinner and I need God's redemption through Jesus Christ. I believe He is the way, the truth, and the light. I believe that the aforementioned list is sin, along with a plethora of other things, including sins of omission, like not spending time praying, or reading the Bible, or spending time with God. Anything that draws us away from a relationship with God is sin. Not doing what we know we should do, is, you guessed it, sin. James 4:17.
This is why we need to accept Jesus. His blood on the cross covered our sins and made it so that we can be forgiven for our shortcomings. He calls us unto Himself as we are.
I have admitted my sin to God; yes, dulling The Word of God to appease man is a sin, just like the rest. The Bible tells us clearly, in the book of Matthew 10:33, " ...but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven." At the end of the day, the wages of sin is death, it keeps us bound, in chains, slave to something that God never intended for us. He has given us freedom from guilt, hurt, and shame. Through Him, we can live a life in control, full of joy. I refuse to be bound by other people's opinions. I refuse to relent on my faith. I refuse to be guilt-tripped for not agreeing with you.
The same energy the world is allowed to have, standing flat-footed in their beliefs is the same energy I am entitled to. Without limiting your self-autonomy and free-will, I can surely have mine.
Now, let the true Body of Christ say Amen.