[adsense-left]I think that too often, we as followers of Jesus get off track in regards to what’s really important. I remember my first years here, while I was studying in the seminary in Sucre, I would often get into heated discussions with others about religion. I was studying apologetics, which is basically understanding and defending our faith. The problem was that when I found the “truth”, that made what everyone else believed “wrong”. Not only people from other religions, but even people from other branches of Christianity. I remember seeing some pastors and leaders and just asking myself… is it possible that they will someday end up in heaven? I mean, they believed wrong… taught wrong… acted wrong… were heathens… liars… hypocrites… etc.
Even today I find myself looking at what other pastors teach, and all that I can say is… “that is just wrong.” In Latin America there are several branches of churches that teach that to be healed by God, you must bring a financial offering. The bigger your offering, the better your miracle. I’ve heard so many stories of pastors who even yelled at those who were bringing the offering… “Is that all?” That seems to go against everything that Jesus taught, and it certainly seems wrong to me. But the thing is that people are healed. Sometimes MANY people are healed. We as Christians have the tendency to credit anything that we don’t believe in, and still see as a ‘supernatural’ work, to the devil. But I have talked and had close contact with some of those who have recieved healing in those churches… and they seem to love God with all of their hearts. They live for him. Their lives have been transformed. They have been healed, as many have been in our church too.
So what does this mean. Is what that church is teaching correct? Should I just jump over on their bandwagon, or can I just dismiss it and say that the devil is dressing up as an angel there? We see this so much today. We talk about; the churches that teach the prosperity doctrine or others that teach that we should remain poor, those who are holy rollers and those who aren’t, christians who drink beer and those who won’t use electricity, those who read newer versions of the Bible, and those who won’t touch anything that isn’t the King James with a ten foot pole. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Of course, I think that I’M RIGHT! 🙂 Ha… the problem is that everyone thinks that they are right.
My Controversial Statement of the Day
I’m going to say something here that will probably be very controversial. Please, just hear me out! (I’m sorry that I can’t do this post in under 500 words.) Let me say it clearly though. I believe that WE are much more worried about theology than GOD is.
Ok, let me explain. We talk about theology, we argue about it. We go to church and learn about it. We separate ourselves from those who don’t think like us. We say that “the church over there is too liberal”, and “that other church is too conservative.” The truth is, in general, we are a VERY divisive people. Let me point out two verses before I get into what I think is truly important.
“Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged. And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, `Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye, then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” Matthew 7:1-5
“Don’t grumble about each other, my brothers and sisters, or God will judge you.” James 5:9a
These are just examples of so many other verses in the Bible that make this clear. We are not the world’s judge. God is. Of course there are some ESSENTIAL beliefs that we must defend and teach always, but I think that OUR understanding of essential is different than GOD’S understanding of it.
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So What’s Really Important?
I think that if we read the New Testament with an open heart and mind, two things are the basis of Christianity. Love God and love your neighbor.
- Loving God
God abolished the written law, and he put it in our hearts. Today, instead of asking for a list of rules and regulations, we ask God… how should I live? What do you want from me Lord. Following God is all about having a relationship with him, being led by his spirit. Becoming his disciple. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about walking and overcoming our problems, sins and frustrations WITH Him. It’s about learning to put him first in our lives, and trusting him in everything.Is this or that ok? I don’t know… ask God. Can I have sex outside of marriage? Of course not… but is it ok to go out with my secretary for lunch? Under most circumstances, I wouldn’t advise it, but… ask God (and your wife). Only you and God know your heart, and you don’t know it nearly as well as he does. Some Christians can drink a beer or a glass of wine without a problem, others can’t drink just one… if you understand what I’m saying. If you can do it TRULY loving and trusting in God, then there is no condemnation for you (Romans 8:1.)
- Loving our Neighbor
I am convinced that the Christian life isn’t about following rules. It’s about relationships. Our relationship with God, and our relationship with others. When we talk about loving our neighbor as ourselves, that means exactly what it sounds like. Do you worry about your life? Worry about others too. Help them. Do you worry about your salvation? Worry about others too, share God’s love, share the freedom from sin and guilt and addictions, etc. with them. Disciple them. Call them, visit them, help them. Give to those who you can. Get your head out of your own problems and look around. See the sadness in this world. Stop judging them. When you see someone fall, pick them up, don’t kick them. Love them, accept them.I have talked to many people who have left the church. What is one of the main reasons they do? Because they find no love there. What they find is judgement. They need friends. They need love. That’s what the world needs. Are they finding it in the church? Really? Truly? Do you accept them for who they are? Believe me when I say that you can find 100 times more love in a group of alcoholic friends than you can find in a good percentage of our churches. Should that be? Now do you understand why I say that we tend to get off track? And yet we ask why our churches aren’t growing.
I believe that we all mess up from time to time… and we are all wrong in something. But God’s not looking at that. He’s looking at our heart. He’s looking at what’s inside.
We need to get back to the true message of Jesus Christ. His message of love, hope and freedom… TRUE freedom for the world. God can heal your neighbor. He can heal people’s hearts. He can restore families, and make people truly happy again. Love God, and Love People.
May God bless you richly. PLEASE, comment, and if this message blesses you, share it with others!