>I love listening to my dad teach. I think he is funny, witty but most importantly, typically has something useful to say, something people need to hear, but isn’t afraid to say things that people may not want to hear. Today at church he used that line, “Oh God, please help me not to be freaking religious today.” As he emphasized RELIGIOUS he went up onto his toes like he does when he is making a point…I am not even sure if he realizes that he does it, but he has my whole life.
One of the things that I love about my family, the “pastor’s family” that we are, is that we aren’t religious, we just love Jesus. If you don’t know, there CAN BE a difference. Not everyone who is religious loves Jesus and not everyone who loves Jesus is religious. When I say the word “religious” I suppose it means different things to different people, especially based on how YOU were raised, but I see your standard A-type of religion as a very negative thing. Legalistic, head-strong, hurtful, hypocritical…the list goes on. I bet you have a few words to add to it. Have you been hurt by a religious organization? I couldn’t name to you all of the people I know who have.
It hurts me every time I read a story about another pastor, priest or other leader who has been caught cheating on his wife, molesting children, embezzling money or doing whatever else it is that the news is full of these days. I am not sure if they realize the effect their actions have on those who attend their congregations. Obviously they are selfish, otherwise they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing, so maybe they don’t even care. My point is this, because we put so much faith in man, the man who stands in front on Sunday (or whatever day you attend) who leads us in prayer, who sings the songs, who teaches the words, because we have chosen to put our trust in him, instead of God, when man fails us….We walk away and never look back.
All of the sudden you don’t trust GOD because MAN let you down…why? Why is it GOD’s fault? Yes, God calls men to lead, to gather His people together to worship, to fellowship and to pray together, but He never said that we should trust that man above Himself. God will never let you down. You may think He has, but His way are not our ways, His answer is not always YES, sometimes it is NO or not yet.
Have you ever heard that Garth Brook’s song; Unanswered Prayers? “Sometimes I thank God, for Unanswered Prayers, remember when you’re talking to the Man upstairs, that just because He may not answer doesn’t mean He don’t care. Sometimes God’s greatest gifts are Unanswered Prayers.”
I strayed a bit from why I started this post, but it matters little. My original point was this; being religious will get you NOWHERE…if you are going to draw those in your circle of influence to God, you have to love them. That is it. Love them unconditionally. That love may look a little bit different from person to person, but remember this; what if you are the ONLY person that they ever encounter who could lead them to Jesus? Will you do it? Or will you hurt them with your words, with your actions, with your judgmental attitude as has every other “Christian” that they have crossed paths with? If you love them, Jesus will lead them…