“Don’t criticize one another, brothers and sisters. Anyone who defames or judges a fellow believer defames and judges the law. If you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?” James 4:11-12
I don’t like pretending things are okay when they aren’t. I don’t like pretending I don’t struggle with things. I don’t like supressing my emotions. (if you’re my friend… you see how much i cry lol) but I like being real. I like when people are real with me. There is no place for being fake. There ARE some principles from God that should be followed, example loving people. But if you don’t like someone, loving them isn’t being fake! It is being obedient. I try to be completely genuine with everyone and it makes me appreciate when people around me do the same. Something that bothers me is that in the church it is almost like people are rewarded and praised for being fake. Then flip it around and being real in the church means there’s a higher chance of judgment from people who claim love. I don’t speak for everyone in the church but I want to speak on something I’ve seen as a problem. Also disclaimer I am not hating on the church in any way. I’ve just personally been affected by this kind of thing and I want people to hear what I wish I heard.
Mind you, this situation I was in was completely on me but I use it to point out the habits I picked up because of the church culture. I’ve been so broken and far from God but I looked good at church. I put on a good, church girl face because that’s what I thought you do. I was acting the way I thought people in the church would like and being highly looked upon by acting like this made me feel like I couldn’t mess up. Having this lifestyle broke me down so much spiritually because I was always trying to strive for a level that I was already pretending to be on and failing over and over. The problem with pretending in the chuch is that you can’t be blessed in a place you pretend to be at. God will meet you where you are and NOT where you pretend to be. I had to learn that the difficult way honestly. I had to become vulnerable and show people that I was really struggling before I could grow spiritually.
Sometimes it’s hard to be real when you know the truth. Like say you know something is wrong, but genuinely you struggle with it… where do you go from there? A lot of the time for me at least, I would pretend these problems didn’t exist. But that is so toxic for your mind. Maybe you think something like “well if I don’t act on certain things then this will go away” because that is easier than admitting you need help or some kind of guidance. Another thing is that it’s hard to admit that you need practical help in the church. Because I mean listen, I know God is all we need and He is literally so powerful and He is the healer and everything He said He is. BUT we are human and God knows that. God knows that we need people to get through things we struggle with. God is everything good but He also gave us people, resources to help us continue walking with Him. I know a lot of biblical answers but sometimes I just need someone to talk to. Someone who will listen without judgement and still gracefully point me back to the Truth.
As a part of the church I do not want to be a person who will condemn anyone for their mistakes or decisons but I want to be someone who can give wisdom and always put the Word first in advice. I want to be able to live by example and to me that means to share all of who I am not just the parts that look good. The thing is as a christian, if you just show people the parts that look good then a lifestyle revolved around Jesus seems impossible. It seems as if it is not an option to make mistakes after you’re saved. And if you do make mistakes as a christian, you can let people know but make sure it isn’t too bad. It feels like that because a lot of times as christians we respond to people’s sin in a judgey way… or in a way that’s like “phew well just don’t do it again” and then never speak about it. But can we awknowlege that people deal with things? Sometimes we deal with things that aren’t fixed with a quick prayer and that’s okay! Christians deal with things and just because they’re christian doesn’t mean their sin is better. Just because we know the truth doesn’t mean it’s easier to get over struggles. We will never become perfection, that is why we need a savior in the first place. I know my savior is omnicient and that means He knew we were never going to be perfect. So my question is why do we think we have to act like it? I am not saying we should act like the world, but I am saying can we act like real people. I’m tired of people I know silently struggling with things they should be comfortable talking about in the church. We are christians! Can we be there for eachother and not look at people differently for their struggles?
I don’t condon sin at all, trust me. On the other hand, I realize the world we live in and awknowlege that some things are hard to deal with. I just want the conversation in the church to be open without preconcieved ideas of people’s lives. There is a difference in being concerned and genuniely wanting to help someone with things they struggle with and gossiping about a person because of their sin.
My heart’s desire is to show people God in a real, raw way. Not just the good parts of being in relationship with God but also the difficult parts. I love being christian and knowing God not because it makes life easier but it makes everything in life better, knowing Him gives me purpose and joy. I want to share that with people and let them know my experience but I don’t want to make their relationship with God look like mine. God and His Word are one and they are never changing. BUT. Everyone’s relationship with God is unique because He created us all differently. He speaks to people in different ways. He moves in people’s lives in different ways. Also people learn and grow and experience God in different ways.. so don’t look at a person and think they’re doing wrong because it isn’t your way.
I don’t want people to get the wrong impression with what I am saying. I love going to church and seeing people I love and fellowshipping and corporately worshipping. I love the church, the body of Christ. I just want to see more. I try to be the change I want to see and it’s crazy that sometimes the church needs to be reminded of love. Jesus is love. Loving isn’t trying to change people but love is showing people Jesus. Let HIM be what changes their hearts. Let the Holy Spirit convict believers. Our job is to love and always guide people to God… If people are new to being a christian and have questions of course we should answer. But don’t try to put your opinions and preferences higher than the Word of God. It’s good to have opinions but nothing should be put above the Word. The Bible is non negotiable.
Our lives should be a tesimony of God’s goodness. Not because you’re such a good person and you barely sin. No. That is about you and your “look.” Your life should be a testimony because you LOVE. Because you’re forgiving when someone doesn’t “deserve” forgiveness. Because you do things for people without getting something in return. Because you serve the people you don’t like. Because you go out of your way to do good for people. Because you take time out of your day to pray for people without them even knowing or asking. Because you’re patient. Because you have peace and joy when everything is falling apart. THAT is being Christ like. If you think you’re a good christian because you don’t get turnt with your friends BUT don’t do any of the things I listed above… you’re doing it wrong. As christians, can we help give us a better reputation? Let’s be more Christ like and I guarentee people will want to know about God.