I’ve had a lot going on recently, all good stuff. It seems Jesus is guiding me into a whole new depth of knowing Father. There have been many, many thoughts and nudgings over the past week especially. It’s like a flood of new and astounding beauty has been revealed, and I’m, again, tumbling end over end trying to get my bearings. It’s always amazing that when I start to gain a decent footing of what Jesus has revealed through the Spirit, he then shows me an entirely new and wonderful dimension that I never could have conceived of until my prior understanding had solidified.
Gone but Not
One of the major concepts Jesus keeps pointing out to me repeatedly is—I may have left the religiosity I was indoctrinated into, but I’m still playing the game. I’m still seeking approval from other professed Christians. As long as I can be controlled in this way, then I’m still subjugated to some extent. Note, I believe religion to be a good thing. It’s one of those words I’m striving to reclaim as good though it’s been abused and manipulated to something else entirely. As a recent statement I read intimated—the only religion I’m interested in is one that loves like Jesus. If my religion still has venom and vitriol, I’m not quite there yet. Likewise, if I’m still upholding an “us verses them” mentality, I’m not really following Jesus whether I use his name or not.
Yet, for some time, I was still hoping that I would have been approved of by others. It’s truly awesome how God continues to chisel me out of that mentality.
Whatever label is used, it divides us. This goes for atheist, abortionist, democrats, immigrants, tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers, etc… I will say, I don’t like abortion. However, I often wonder if a better approach would be, instead of spitting venom, spending that time and energy helping those women that are considering abortion. Our “Christian” society has forced into being much of the very things we protest against. As with abortion, we’ve forced guilt, shame, and condemnation down peoples’ throats. We’ve told them that they’re already sinful for getting pregnant. If they’re already damned by our standards, then why not just do what they have to? After all, we tell them that they don’t deserve our tax dollars. They don’t deserve food stamps. They don’t deserve to leech off the government. They are liable to pay for their “mistake” on their own, alone. We’ll welcome them into our church and give them some leeway of grace, but sooner rather that later, they must subject themselves to our schism or else they’re still just adulterous sinners—and our disapproving gazes will ensure they know it! We talk about the value of human life while at the same time devaluing anyone who won’t conform to our standards as less than human, condemning them to an endless hell.
How easily we throw away their lives by our standards. Is it any wonder why some consider abortion?
Now, yes, there may be those who would have an abortion anyways, but how many more would benefit from our love (that little four-letter word Jesus was trying to teach) instead of our condemnation?
This is just one example. What if we represented the Jesus that loves everyone instead of a Jesus that hates atheist? Perhaps atheist don’t believe in our religion because we don’t live our religion out in a believable way that would inspire others to follow Jesus. Those “others” make easy scapegoats for a religion that we have to sell under threat.
One of the beliefs I’ve held myself to recently is this—if I just had the chance to explain how I came to this relationship with Jesus, others would understand and begin to live in that freedom of the Spirit. If others would just listen, they would see my point of view and begin to draw closer to Father.
I was wrong!
Most seem content to uphold the beliefs they’re taught whether they make any sense or not. I’ve been striving, at the Spirit’s guidance, to make sense of scriptures that always contradicted one another. It seems, no matter how well I can explain this to others—no matter how much proof I present—there is never enough to convince others to let go and just live, unburdened, with Jesus. This isn’t an insistence that I have all the answers. In fact, it’s just the opposite. I’m realizing no amount of proof will suffice to those that have convinced themselves otherwise.
It seems we can only walk this life of love with others. In a way, I knew this—or I should say Jesus kept telling me this—but I stubbornly had to try and fail first before I could fully accept it. In turn, this has affirmed that I can only truly rely on the Spirit for guidance and not my own process.
Like with the religious elite during Jesus’ ministry, many will insist that they’re right despite any evidence to the contrary. At that point, I can only hope that seeds of love planted by the Spirit will one day be cultivated. Until then, I can only walk alongside if that is where God wants me.
These are just a few of the basic things Jesus has helped me understand better. Now, he’s guiding me into another vast and uncharted space that is blowing my mind and challenging me spiritually in entirely new ways. I’m excited that every plateau is just the beginning of another amazing leg of the journey.