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Posts Tagged ‘Guilt’

Sin, What’s Your Label?

January 22, 2011 5 comments

Westminster AbeyWhat is sin?

Here’s what dictionary.com says:

Noun

1. transgression of divine law: the sin of Adam.

2. any act regarded as such a transgression, esp. a willful or deliberate violation of some religious or moral principle.

3. any reprehensible or regrettable action, behavior, lapse, etc.; great fault or offense: It’s a sin to waste time.

According to the bible sin is what separates us from God. And as the first definition states it all originated from Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In the eyes of God all sin is equal and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 2:23). I’m sure that I’m not stating anything new here or anything that any Christian would disagree with.

On my journey, I’ve had many debates with people about sin and the church. I’ve found people who are willing to “blur” the lines on things in order to make life “simpler” for them, yet draw a hard-line on other things. I’ve also talked with people who draw a hard-line on certain sins and make no exceptions about people who struggle with these sins, yet make acceptions for other sins that they see as more tolerable or acceptable. I’m no different I’m sure and by no means am I trying point out the spec in my brother or sister’s eye, I’m simply trying to make a point, and that is that sin is sin in the eyes of God. There are no bigger or lesser sins, they all separate us from God. I truly believe that if we as Christians can accept this and try to live by this principle we can make a greater impact in this world. If we just accepted all people for who they are, children of God separated from Him by sin, maybe, just maybe, we could reach out to people who for the most part feel judged and shamed by the church and God.

Imagine if we looked at the alcoholic, the homosexual, the murderer, the prostitute, the rapist the same way we looked at the person who lies or cheats. I mean I know that I’ve lied and cheated at one point or another in my life. I’m just as sinful as they are. Imagine if we just accepted them for who they are, no strings attached, no saying “we love you, but we hate your sin.” We just accepted them. Loved them. And treated them the way that we treated our fellow brother and sister in the Lord. What kind of impact could we have? Jesus reached out to those who were the outcasts. Shouldn’t the church of today as well? In the same way that they say you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar we can reach more people with love and acceptance than we can by say your sin is unacceptable.

I’m not saying that we ignore the sin, but lets not make it the main focus of who people are. Last time I was in church there was no one there wearing labels identifying them by their sins. We are all God’s children saved by grace.

Church… Not Right Now Thanks

January 3, 2011 7 comments

Having grown up in the church I’m still often surrounded by Christians. Some have known me for years and have seen me “minister” in the church and others who have only known the person that is writing this blog. For the most part it doesn’t seem to matter who they are, if they are Christians they don’t seem to understand why I’m not going to church or involved in the church.  Some want to know my reasons and what has caused me to “write-off” God and the church. I want to stress that I haven’t written God off or the church for that fact. I still think that I believe in God, just not sure I completely get the “Christian God”. (Note, that I put that in quotes because I don’t want to offend people, so please just move on and keep reading this post and posts to come, and maybe you’ll understand me better.)

I guess there are a number of reasons that I’m not in “church” right now. One of the main reasons is that over the years the church and its members have been the cause of great hurt and pain in my life, Pastors and layman alike. Yes, I know that they are just human being and that they aren’t perfect, but it just gets repetitive. I think that at this stage there is significant scar tissue around my “soul” and I’m just not ready to get back in and have it cut open again. Now, normally at this point is where the good Christian will tell me that I need to let go forgive and get back in there so God can heal the hurt and take away the scar tissue and I can be made whole. My response to that, “been there, done that, got my t-shirt signed and oh yeah, it happened again.” How’s that saying go “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” I’ll admit it, I’m a wounded person, but aren’t we all in some way or another? I guess I’m just sick and tired of being wounded, getting better and being wounded again.

They say hurt people hurt others out of their own hurt. Well, I hope that I haven’t hurt anyone in the church in my day although I’m sure I have. I do know that at this point in my journey that whenever I do step foot into a church I become someone who I don’t necessarily like. I become judgemental (how’s that for honesty). I judge people and I look at them and scrutinize the way they worship and pray. I wonder to myself how much of what they are doing is real and how much of it is for show. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want to judge people and be so pessimistic, but it’s where I’m at right now. I know that according to scripture I’m not supposed to judge others and so for me in some way I feel it is better to abstain then to get involved.

Not sure if it’s conviction, guilt, my own perfectionism but when I’m in church I just feel like crap. There’s no other way to put it. (trust me I struggled to finish that sentence for a few minutes) I sit in that pew or stand during worship and just don’t want to be there. I know that I’ll never be perfect, but right now the last thing I want to do is to go to church to feel that way, I can feel that way all by myself without entering a church.

Someone asked me after my last post “How has this affected my relationship with God? Positively and negatively”. Well obviously not being active in the church can make you feel more distant from God at times and even question whether He is still there and whether or not He still uses you. And although I’m questioning a lot about God and Christianity I believe that God still does use me.

Do I know if I died tonight where I’d spent eternity because of where I’m at in this journey? The answer. No, I don’t, but then again do you? No you don’t, it’s all based on faith and a belief in the Bible, none of us really knows until we die. I think what has been most impacted in my journey is my relationship with other Christians simply because many of them don’t understand me or where I’m a coming from. They want to save me and get me back on track and serving the Lord with all my heart and most of all “get over it.” I tend to stay away from those people, because for the most part there’s nothing they can say that I haven’t already heard and I need to work this out to get to the other side. I know that God knows who I am, where I am at and understands what I’m going through on this journey. He knows what is on the other side and He knows what the future holds and He will judge me in the end. 

As I mentioned in my last post this blog is probably more for me than it will be for others, but knowing that people have/are reading helps me dialogue more. If you are a Christian reading this and your first instinct is to pray for me, I understand that need; please feel free to do so. Believe it or not I appreciate the gesture. Please comment and ask questions, my goal is to be as transparent and as real as possible here and your questions my answering them helps me think things through.