Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak. Just a few of the names I have heard describe me since becoming a new Christian over one year ago. I am amazed how my faith could push some people away. I’m not scary, although I try to be when it comes to reprimanding my children (doesn’t work well). I’m a pretty nice person, although I have a terrible tendency to laugh when people fall. It’s a terrible habit, most likely some type of coping mechanism that I haven’t been able to shake for at least 25 of my 30-something years (this did not work out well in my summer camp counselor days). But, still I wonder why my new-found faith pushes people away?
One thing that comes to mind is what many Christians are portrayed as in the media. Most of the time we hear the bad things that happen, over the good. I have heard people describe Christians as having holier than thou, judgmental personalities. Same with other religions. As unfair as it is, there are still folks in the world who associate Muslims with terrorism. That’s not an accurate comparison. You do not damn an entire religion due to a few very evil seeds. Same for Democrats, Republicans, different races, males, females, etc! It is not truth, nor fact. Yet it still happens.
It’s not my job to fight to make people believe in the same faith as I do. It’s not my job to judge or look down on someone who does not believe in God (I married a man who did not believe). It’s also not my job to preach my beliefs for the sole purpose of proving your belief wrong. That’s not who I am and in my heart I do not believe that is who Jesus would have wanted me to be.
It is my job to be a light to the world, to accept everyone as they are. I tend to observe and internalize my opinions, rather than putting it out on social media for the world to see. You’ll find numerous amounts of family photos and silly kiddo quotes on my page, but you are not going to see me attacking other religions, political parties, or anyone. That is not Christianity to me.
I support gay rights. I have several friends who are in the LGBT community and I love them all. The thought of judging them all because I love Jesus and read the Bible does not even cross my mind. While I know people who are incredibly vocal about their hatred for those that are gay, that is not me. That is not the Christianity I practice. Again, that is not what loving Jesus and believing in God means to me.
To me, loving Jesus means come as you are. We all sin. Every single one of us. Myself, my husband, my kids, every single one of you, even those who hate. Just because you hate strongly does not make you free of sin. I feel that you can be gay and love Jesus. I also think you can be gay and not believe in Jesus, but guess what? I’ll still love you just the same. This is the Christian that I am. The funny thing is that while I like to call myself an Independent when it comes to politics, I always tend to lean more to the right. Again, not all Republicans (or Democrats) are the same.
I will testify all day long about the impact that loving God has had on my life in the last year and half. I will tell you stories of God providing for us in a time where I didn’t think it was possible. I’ll talk to you about what it means to tithe in our church and what that has done for our family. But, I will not talk to you about why you should believe in all the same things that I do. I also don’t want you to talk to me about why my beliefs are ridiculous. It’s called being respectful, a characteristic that I truly wish more would practice. Differing opinions should not give you or I the right to be disrespectful to another human beings. It’s not ok, even if you justify it with your own hatred.
I’ll continue shining my light into the world. I’ll also promise to be a safe place and a voice for anyone feeling like they are shamed, scared, alone, or persecuted, Christian or non-Christian! I am here for you and you are loved by me as a brother or sister. Please do not let the darkness that some pour into the world impact your own light and spirit. Keep pushing and keep fighting and know that I have your back!
It’s ok if you contact me regarding my opinions. I’d love to have a conversation, as long as there’s a mutual respect involved. It’s ok for you to disagree with me! It’s also ok if you continue calling me a Religious, Churchy, Jesus Freak. I’ll take it, I will own it and I will continue practicing being the loving, accepting, caring, non-judgmental, Jesus-loving Christian that I am. Because that is what being a Christian means to me.
“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:16