Posts Tagged ‘are Christians judgmental?’

When I first saw this graphic, generously shared on an atheist internet community, my first reaction was “Hmm…wonder where I could buy a great shirt like this?”

I’m a person of faith who knows the world needs a cure for “religion”. You know, all that stuff that says you can torture, rape and kill ‘unbelievers’. (Or worse still, people who leave my “religion” for another “religion”.)

Am I overstating it? Then let’s examine the “religious” part of just one faith, Christianity. You may have experienced it:

  • People who appear to have it all together sitting in cold-hearted judgement of others.
  • People who sniff their disapproval of those with tattoos or nose rings.
  • People who claim they welcome others to their churches — as long as those people fit in, ’cause hey, we’re certainly NOT going to change for YOU.
  • People who seem to spend more time angrily opposing things than lovingly offering an alternative.

All this is how I see “religion”.

Is there a cure? Absolutely, but it’s controversial. It’s Jesus of Nazareth, who many people believe is God’s divine Son.

Still with me, but wondering what the heck I’m writing about? Good.

During His physical time on earth, Jesus had little use for the rituals of “religion” and the self-righteous, soulless lives it so often produces.

In  one of the four original-source biographies of Jesus’ life, He says this to people like you and me: “Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it.”

In his book The End of Religion, Canadian pastor Bruxy Cavey writes “Notice how Jesus is not pointing toward a different and better religion, but instead He invites us to Himself as an alternative to the weary way of religion.”

Exactly. That’s the thing you might not know: being a Jesus follower isn’t about a religion. It’s about a person and how you and I can have a relationship with Him that starts in this life and stretches into eternity.

That means no guilt-induced rituals that create nothing but spiritual fatigue. It also means thoughtfully, consciously turning away from the elitism of “us versus them” and the smugness of judgmentalism.

When people honestly, humbly come to Jesus, they come knowing they are every bit as imperfect as the people they are tempted to judge. They come with the realization that it’s them who must change.

That was the case for me when I decided to believe in and follow Jesus at age 42. And it’s made me a better person.

Do you want to be a better person without the shackles of religion? Then check out Jesus, because He tells everyone who will listen that “anyone who drinks the water I give will never be thirsty again. The water I give people will be like a spring flowing inside them. It will bring them eternal life.”

Sound interesting? Yes or no, post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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House of hypocritsIf you’ve spent much time on this planet, then I’m pretty you’ve had the misfortune of encountering the kind of people described in this graphic.

I certainly have. It was even worse for a friend: her husband left her and, as a result, hypocrites at her church turned their backs on her to the point where she stopped attending.

This is the kind of rude, arrogant judgementalism, especially on things that  aren’t important, that stops many people from following Jesus of Nazareth (who many believe is God’s Son). And Jesus is dead-set against it. He told the religious leaders of his day that “You load people down with rules and regulations, nearly breaking their backs, but never lift even a finger to help.”

Now, before we go any further, it’s time I came clean and declared I’m a hypocrite. There have been times when I’ve said one thing and done something entirely different (just check with my very patient and forgiving wife).

While I’m at it, I think it’s safe to write that every church on this planet can be called “The House of Hypocrites” because they’re filled with people like me. Sometimes, without even realizing it until later, we grab our gavels, pound our desks and pompously declare others guilty of the very wrongs we’ve committed.

Does that make church an ludicrous time-waster? Not at all. The key thing is to understand this: “The church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.” Those are the words of longtime newspaper advice columnist Abigail Van Buren (better known as ‘Dear Abby’) and they make absolute sense.

I go to church because there, I can learn from other, more mature Jesus followers how to identify and turn away from hypocritical behaviour and be the person God knows I can be.

Because I’m judgmental, I go to church so I can learn the truth of my faith: the only person who can truly be judgmental is Jesus. Serious Jesus followers acknowledge that He never committed a single sin. That makes Him alone worthy of holding the gavel of judgment.

But there’s good news here: One of the original-source biographies of Jesus’s physical life on Earth tells us “God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending His Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.”

Once I decided to believe that Jesus is God’s gift to me and I should accept that gift, God started the process of making me “right again”. He can do the same for you, too. Just accept His gift and see what happens next.

Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below and let’s have a conversation.

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