In Which I Confess That I Suck At Being A Christian
So, I haven't exactly been a model Christian lately.
Whatever the heck that even means.
I could literally list of all the reasons that I might have condemned even myself to the fast track to hell just a few short years ago.
Let's see, just for starters...
1. I haven't been to an actual church service in months.
2. I honestly have no desire to be bound to traditional church structure.
3. I told someone they didn't have to go to church to find Jesus.
4. I've been listening to secular music that I happen to like.
5. I got a henna tattoo.
7. I've been questioning a lot. A LOT. -Don't I know it is NOT OK to question churchy stuff?
Any one of those may be categorized as sinful to some, however I'm really not interested in debating it with anyone.
Luckily, I am better acquainted with truth these days. So, it's pretty tough to Jesus juke me into guilt. I'm so over religious condemnation that it literally makes my stomach turn. I know what it does to people, I've felt it, I've seen it. It steals breath and strangles out life. I don't want any part of it, or the people who spread it.
But on my run a few days back my mind started rehearsing all that I haven't done or haven't been lately and condemnation tried to creep it's ugly head in my life.
And the words of this song came on from my run playlist..
He's not mad at you,
And He's not disappointed.
His grace is greater still
Than all of your wrong choices. He is full of mercy
And He's ever kind.
Hear His invitation,
His arms are open wide.You can come as you are with all your broken pieces,
And all your shameful scars.
The pain you hold in your heart, bring it all to Jesus.
You can come as you are. Louder than the voice
That whispers "you're unworthy",
Hear the sound of love
That tells a different story. Shattering your darkness
And pushing through the lies,
How tenderly He calls you,
His arms are open wide.You can come as you with all your broken pieces,
All your shameful scars.
The pain you hold in your heart,bring it all to Jesus.
You can come as you are.
I looked up into the sky as if these words from straight from Heaven for me, right there in that moment. I envisioned the entire earth; all the faces - weary, worn and tired from sin & religion. And the great big arms of Jesus wrapping us all up in His mercy & authentic, life-shattering love.
Completely unlike the picture of God religion had painted for me, He wasn't mad at me. I found His eyes to be filled with unexplainable love for me, his arms so abundant with compassion.
This is what the Gospel came to be and do. To love, to free and heal. It never came to condemn and shame.
Next, a scripture that literally changed my life a few years back when I had hit bottom in my life came to mind. At a time when I was the most unloveable, more unworthy of mercy than I had ever been, I woke up one morning and walked into the bathroom to find these words written in big letters across my mirror:
So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most. ~Hebrews 4:16
Oh the freedom that comes when the truth comes along and releases us from bondage to religious rules or the guilt that comes when we don't measure up, or when we flat out fail.
Those words, like a warm compress on a bleeding wound, were written for me.
And they are for you.
I'm not saying that we can just live as we please, I am saying that that part in Bible "He who the Son sets free is free indeed" - I've found to be truth.
True freedom, the kind that no one can take away, only comes when truth our lives have literally collided with truth and mercy.
So if wearing myself out to follow a list of man-made religious rules and feeling guilty when I can't keep them (just like the Pharisees) constitutes being a good Christian, I think I'll just stick with being a disciple.
Rachel Rowell @ saltedgrace.com