To answer people who think that because I am a Christian, that I “want to force my religious beliefs, customs, and traditions on them”,
(and who have understandably pushed back hard against some people who are fighting hard to force certain religious beliefs and practices through government upon those who want no part in such things),
And to answer those who ask:
“Why is ‘your God’ the one we all have to follow?“
“My God is not the one all have to follow. In fact, He freely gives all of us our own independent free will to choose to either follow Him or deny Him. I don’t even demand that you follow Him or obey some list of rules in order for Him to accept you.
I just want you to know that He loves you enough to not just show you a better way and expect you to walk it — He demonstrates it and says that if you believe, that He will come live in you and help you walk in the fullness of life.
And “the rules” aren’t even there for you to have to “live up to” — but so that you can see as He lives in you and through you — that you are actually being changed to be more like Him — by Him. I don’t expect those who don’t know Him and love Him to live up to a set of Godly morals or principals, because I believe that isn’t even possible without His help.
And I know very few will actually know and love Him, and many will hate Him — and because of that, they will also hate the things that we see as valuable and important to the successful growth and progress of humanity, society, etc. I’m not here to force anyone to follow my rules or believe what I believe or practice what I believe.
I’m here to introduce you to Almighty God the Father through the person of Jesus Christ, and through the Holy Spirit of God who lives in me. He is my closest friend and my greatest comfort and encourager. He is my strength, and my hope, and my peace when times are tough. And He is the love that I want to be able to share with you in a way that you can see — past what seems like outward religious traditions and practices — to know the difference inside that makes all the difference.
When you find that thing that you know needs to change and you aren’t strong enough to change it yourself — you can humbly reach out to my God, because He opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble, and because He hears and gives justice to the oppressed.
When life’s circumstances become dark and worrisome and hopeless — you can reach out to my God, because He lifts up the downtrodden.
My God is not a tyrant, but a servant and a friend. Amen.”
If you know me, and if you listen to what I have to say, and if you watch how I treat others — I pray you will see a stark contrast in me to the ugly things that we all know about people who are driving political and religious agendas.
Very religious people (who are dead on the inside and worried about forcing everyone into compliance) have committed atrocities in the name of God throughout the ages — but their God is not my God, and their father is not my Father. Those people are dangerous, and no matter how much they want to paint themselves white, as pure, as good — my God says that “their insides stink of death”. He says that you can see it in how they “are jealous and envious”, how they “brag and are arrogant”, how they “are rude and self- serving”, how they “demand their own way” and “are easily angered”.
But I tell you that I was those things too, and would still be those things but for the grace of God. So let’s not just throw rocks at each other, but let’s show love to one another — that is The Way that I choose to follow my God..
And if you don’t think you are capable of loving such wretched religious hypocrites — or loving such wretched, filthy sinners — I’ve been both, and I pray that my God will make it possible for you to forgive me for my many shortcomings and love me — and I forgive you and love you as well.
That is a great place to start — forgiveness and love — because that is the whole of what my God asks of us — not some laundry list of rules. Amen.