rules v.s. love

When I was in middle school, I attended a fairly conservative church in Blandon. We had some ministry folks come to our church for a week to hold a “revival”. I became friends with one of the women singers who helped out with our youth group and one day we went out for chimichangas and I remember thinking how close to God she must be. I would be such a better person if I could just be like her.

After the “revival team” left, they left me convicted and convinced of my “sin”. I listened to non-Christian music.

I struggled with this for a very long time, and eventually made a rule for myself that I couldn’t play any non-Christian music on my personal stereo. This was extremely difficult for me because I always thought Christian music was of a slightly lower grade. These people had me so convinced that non-Christian music was bad that I actually had to decide if it was okay to listen to secular music if I was in someone else’s house.

Guilt can be so deceiving. I had my fair share of guilt-induced incidents among my time at the church. In the same way I felt guilty about  listening to secular music, I later also felt guilty because I didn’t get my classmates to say the “prayer of salvation” and because I might miss reading my Bible for a night. None of these things are sins. In fact, the Bible doesn’t mention that any of these instances are sin*.

Churches teach kids that these things are important. In fact, they are the most important things. I realize that I am surrounded by a generation who grew up in the church and learned the same values as myself.  They were taught the same ways to live for Jesus. Is this what Jesus was really about? What if instead of these things, churches would have taught us to love each other like Jesus did? What if they would have stressed that instead of all the nit picky rules? I’ll tell you what would have happened.

Not as many people probably would view Christianity like a religion of rules. Not nearly as many people would have “prayed that prayer” and then later forgot about the entire spiritual experience. More kids would have listened to secular music (hmmm maybe this was all a ploy by the Christian music industry lol). And kids would have learned how to love their friends and Jesus’s love would have been demonstrated a million times over. Maybe people would associate Christians with LOVE instead of rules. Maybe Christianity would be getting somewhere…

*The idea behind the “prayer of salvation” is good; church leaders taught me that I should tell my friends about Jesus. I agree, it’s apart of the great commission that we are to baptize and disciple the world. But, reciting a prayer with some key words does not make a person a Christian any more than me walking into McDonalds makes a hamburger.
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The statement we so often hear, ‘Make a decision for Christ,’ places an emphasis on something our Lord never trusted. He never asks us to decide for him, but to yield to Him, something very different.
-My Utmost For His Highest

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3 responses to “rules v.s. love

  1. So many concepts… you’re so deep Lol or not really… just straightforward

    I agree with you on the concept of the rules and love… and how Jesus’ love is so radical 🙂 This is our vision 1 John 3:16
    I also think that putting people on guilt trips is not the way to go and not cool @ all.. because there is no condemnation in Christ

    BUT I also agree with the church for their reasons behind telling us these things. I think the church does a bad job in explaining why they want us to do these things however and so it becomes a list of rules… and lost in meaning and significance where instead of doing these things out of love for God we do them because our church told us to.

    Just like when the church says you shouldn’t have sex before marriage to children without explaining it… they don’t know why… they just know they can’t… yes this is actually a sin defined as fornication in the bible but its the only example I could think of… I’m reminded of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any

    That’s all 🙂

  2. Great post. I have some strong issues with evangelism as it is traditionally thought of, and though the church is making progress, we still have a lot of work to do on that issue.

    My friend Sarah is an RD at Geneva…not a job I’d want, but she’s great at it!

  3. Thanks for sharing that. I can definitely relate. I suppose there are a lot of us Christians out there that can. I can look back at my faith as a teenager in HS and recall how judgemental I was. I remember pondering to myself many times why everybody didn’t go to my church? I don’t mean “church”, I mean “my church” Didn’t they get it.
    Anyway, that’s all I got. I really liked this blog, it made me look back at that time in my life and i can see how much i’ve grown and matured since then

    – D

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