I wanted to take a moment and apologize for anytime in history when human error corrupted the message of Christianity. I’m sorry that kings in the past have passed laws forcing citizens to profess Christianity, it is a personal choice. I apologize for the crusades when Christian’s perverted the word and killed in the name of Christ. I’m sorry that before Martin Luther’s revelation the Catholic Church denied it’s followers the right to read the Bible. I apologize for any church that gets so steeped in tradition, that tradition outweighs the word of God. I’m sorry that sometimes pastors, preachers, priests, ministers or any church leader become consumed with pride, raising themselves above the word of God. I apologize for the puritans who took sin and earthly punishment way to far. I am sorry some Christian’s act as judge and jury of other’s hearts; when that can only be done by God. I apologize for every religious zealot, who took thier convictions too far and violently tried to force them on other people; Christianity is a personal choice to enter a personal relationship with God. I apologize that although I am a Christian, I mess up and sin causing unbelievers to see all Christians as hypocrite. I do try and follow Christ’s example in all I do, at times I will fail.
You see Christian’s are flawed human beings. It turns out, even after entering into a relationship with God, even after accepting Jesus as our Savior, we are still humans. As much as I wish we got our heavenly bodies immediately and lost all worldly desires, alas we remain humans with human appetites and human frailty. Sometimes we will walk closer to God, letting the Holy Spirit help guide our paths and sometimes we screw up. The amazing thing is God loves us anyway, He can still use us and He will always forgive us.
The second truth is churches, no matter the sect or denomination are run by and filled with humans and humans aren’t perfect. Churches can make mistakes, put too much focus on one verse and miss another. A church can set up traditions to help guide it’s followers and over time the traditions become more important than God’s word. This has been happening for over 2,000 years. This is because churches are filled with humans and humans aren’t perfect. Churches are also lead by pastors, preachers, priests and ministers who happen to be human and subjective to a sinful nature.
Pastors, preachers, priests, ministers or any church leader are just mortals. No matter how great their gift for sharing the word of God, they aren’t gods and should not be treated as such. They can help teach you about the one and only God but as Mother Theresa describes herself “I am just the pen, God is the writer”. A good leader will always encourage you to constantly perform litmus test against the Bible about thier teaching. I’ve had some incredible pastors and incredible Bible teachers, the good ones taught me to look deeper for myself and double check man with the Bible.
I’ve experienced the role of ritual, denominational segregation, and self-righteous people in the church throughout my life. My best friend was a Seventh Day Adventist- jewelry was evil and no TV or anything from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday, our family was going to hell because they went to church on Sunday. Mom’s family were Lutheran, believed in strict religious ceremony and infant baptism. Our family was going to hell for worshiping with other denominations. I was given on my baby baptism day, the Bible I have by my bedside I was given when I chose to be baptized when I was 22. We almost joined a Baptist Church once but they told Dad he wasn’t saved because he had a sprinkle baptism instead of full dunking and would have to rebaptize to join- they believed dancing was evil. I had a good friend who was Catholic but when I went to church with her I couldn’t join in many things because I was a heathen. Most Catholic I knew were drank freely and believed the wine turns into the actual blood and body when you take communion. But the Bible Church we went to said it wasn’t fermented wine and touching any alcohol would send you straight to hell. The Bible Church and Catholic both believe using any form of contraceptive use is a one way trip to hell (if you die before confessing your sins to a priest). Once, I sat and watched two people, a Methodist deacan and a Bible Church elder come to blows on whether it was appropriate for women to lead men. When my mom decided to go back to work she was called by several churches and told she was sinful and out of God’s will about being a mother and a wife. While leaving my abusive husband, I got hate mail from churches, which I hadn’t been to in years, saying if I loved God I would stay in my marriage, a good wife would turn the other cheek. We left one church because at 7 when I started my horrible cough, the pastor told me and my parents that I was sick because of some great sin in my life and God was punishing me for the evil I was involved with: he didn’t know what but I needed to confess and get right with God or I would surely die. In my community we never noticed color, everyone was way to divided over biblical technicalities. I went to church one church, they pulled out the poisonous snakes! Snakes! Saying if I had faith I would hold it, I ran, sat in the car and was rejected as a whore of Babylon. I’m Not the only one who has had negative experiences, many have and it is so sad.
Yes, churches and the people in the church will fall short of the glory of God, some even will believe false doctrine but that doesn’t mean all Christians are bad, it means some leaders, churches and/or members have lost their way. These things bothered me, but didn’t cause me to question my faith because my faith was in God not the church.
The human mind is not perfect and has the ability to twist Bible verses into backing up what they believe. The Bible has to be taken in context with the Bible. The Old Testament is just as important as the New Testament, you can’t truly understand the New Testament without understanding the Old Testament. This is not my truth but God’s truth.
The most important thing to remember about Christianity: it is a PERSONAL relationship with God. The relationship is about each individual getting to know God through reading the Bible and prayer. Just like any relationship, to develop you have to spend time with the other person in the relationship. If you were dating someone, you wouldn’t go to thier best friend for information about that person. Going to the best friend would help secure your relationship with the best friend- not the person you are dating. Same with God if you only get information from churches and other Christians, then you lack a relationship with God. The way to have a good relationship is one on one time. The more time spent together the better the relationship. This is the same with God as people. The more time you spend with Him, the more you will reflect Him. I often fail in reflecting Christ in my life but I’m striving to be better everyday. That’s the most God asks of anyone. Your relationship with God is personal, so to get to know what being a Christian is about grab a Bible and start praying.
I’m sorry that Christianity has failed so many and Christians continue to make mistakes. Only God is perfect and that’s what Christianity is about, accepting that we as humans need God to help us. The secret about Christianity is go to the source, don’t play a really bad game of telephone: get your facts straight from God. Churches have their place and leaders can help you learn but the perfect truth comes from God. So I’m sorry church and Christians disillusioned you but God never will.