What’s more important: people or image.
Having gone through a major life change as I have, I felt challenged to write about something which tends to be overlooked, not spoken about or simply ignored. Those of us that have gone through serious dark times can relate to the feeling of being judged or misunderstood. I felt challenged to write about the topic ‘Christian’. Yes Christian! The word we associate to church, bible or religion.
Don’t get freaked out! I am not writing against the bible, church or the Christian.
Having been involved and attended church for decades I am speaking about something I believe should be said. It is personal to me. It has affected me. Not many would understand unless they had gone through an experience which would take them to places breaking apart small minded thinking and judgements of other people.
The fact of the matter is that I was married to a man that claimed to be a Christian. Without going into all the details of how I was mistreated, the purpose of writing about a topic such as this is the hope it will encourage others who may be in the middle of OR have gone through a similar struggle. Deep down I would hope that people who are quick to judge and live in a world too small would get a glimpse into reality rather than resort to the typical Christian phrases or bible verses blinded to ‘the real issues’ in life.
Personally, I believe what the bible talks about and I believe there is a God. Having experienced situations for myself I could never deny that God exists. Unfortunately, there are people who choose to use the bible to control others. It may be an individual or the leadership of a church. These people grab parts of the bible and use it to manipulate, control and attempt to scare the hell out of people.
The trouble is that often these people believe wholeheartedly that they are doing the right thing? Are they misunderstanding the bible? Where does this all come from?
Since my life changed over a year and half ago I have not gotten to the point in which I desire to go to church. I have tried a few times earlier when I first got to Canberra however hearing all the typical Christian phrases, messages and watching all the typical routine within a church doesn’t appeal to me. Sometimes it can feel a little like a rehearsed show. Do people really benefit from clichés?
At this point in my life I just want what is REAL and GENUINE. I have found that listening to people’s real-life battles in the place I work has been like therapy for myself. People going through real issues are usually open and genuine. They have nothing left to hide. They don’t have an image to uphold in front of others. When I have the privilege to listen to a person’s dark time I relate to them. Everything within me stops for that moment and takes in what this person is pouring out. I genuinely listen. I don’t have all the answers and they don’t expect me too. I don’t have an agenda or motive behind why I am listening, I just genuinely care about people.
Why? in the darkest hours of a person’s life is the Christian person often such a hindrance. Throwing judgemental words at the hurting person. The person who doesn’t need anymore hurt!
The fact that I currently don’t attend church does that mean I don’t believe in God? Or the bible?
The way I am living out my beliefs may look different to others. Isn’t it about the heart? Your motives and intentions? Your behaviour?
I simply cannot fathom that a God who is talked about as a loving heavenly father would be so nasty as to banish a person from his love if they were not attending a church on a regular basis. I believe God is sooooo much bigger than that. Perhaps us humans like to contain God into a very small space.
The amount of pressure often put on a Christian is another topic altogether. That if you follow all these steps daily you will be closer to God:
1. Read bible daily
2. Pray daily
3. Attend church weekly
4. Attend a bible study
5. Attend a ladies meeting
6. Attend a small group
7. Evangelise your neighbourhood and the world
All sounds good and great and involves a lot of DOING but what about who you are as a person?
A person’s beliefs don’t make them a loving person. You can attend every session under the sun, running from one group to another and ignore your family, mistreating them worse than your worst enemy. All in the belief that without DOING all of the above you will fall short of what it is to be a Christian!!!! Failing to recognise that the way you treat others should be right up there on the priority list.
I’m thankful that I have been able to see life from a different perspective. I’m so much happier and content without all of the unnecessary pressure to perform or keep up an image.
It took me along time to come out of an unhealthy relationship involving a lot of control which included emotional and spiritual abuse. The bible was often used to manipulate and scare me. Sadly, this is an all too common occurrence. This experience has changed me and my thinking for the better. You could say that it busted through my small thinking and my judgements of other people.
It also made me aware of how easily we can get mislead and controlled if we don’t use our god given brains. At the end of the day all that matters is that you live life in a way which leaves you free to be yourself! You know who you are, there is no need to keep striving towards an image someone else has established somewhere back there ←
→ move forward and don’t be controlled by others. Every human has a god given right to be themselves, we all have a different history, future and purpose.
We don’t need to be copies of others.