I am tired of seeing my generation blame their current status on things the church "did" to them years ago. Yup, the church, filled with flawed humans, will hurt us. They are not, however, responsible for how we allow our pain to be dealt with. Do we own the hurt and allow it to make its home in our heart, or do we give it to Jesus? It's time to stop blame shifting, people.
My generation is so "touchy". Can I say that without being scolded? We are. We are a group of people who refuse to be offended or challenged. We don't want to be seen as "normal" or enter into anything that our parents may have been apart of. We try and rid ourselves of a Christianity and lifestyle that looks anything like what we grew up with. We need to be able to drink, smoke, hang with "the wrong crowd", cuss, and whatever else you may think of. We have wrapped ourselves in the lie that "grace will take care of it." Or even worse, that we aren't called to live to a higher standard because we aren't under "that legalistic" mindset of the church.
We love to point the finger. "He did it." "She did it" "That pastor didn't spend enough time grooming me." "My parents MADE me go to church, and now I just can't ever step foot in one again without feeling their control." "Our church was just so legalistic!" "I was so sheltered!" The list goes on, and we could come up with a million things that have happened in our lives that have wronged us and pained our hearts.
But church, I'm done. I'm over it. I'm over my complaints, and quite frankly, I am over yours too.
I am an extremely soft hearted person. I want you to understand it does not take much to make me cry or hurt my feelings. I am not saying that pain will not happen, or that we should not feel. I am not saying that you cannot experience an injustice that will change a decision or your present course. There are certainly moments in life that allow us to see where we escaped a dangerous fate or relationship. So please! Hear me when I say I still want to be a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a hand to help, a heart to pray. I am saying that our RESPONSE to wrongful actions is OUR responsibility, and we alone carry the weight of how we allow a pain to affect us long term. I fully understand it can take time to work through an issue, but are we working through it?
What I do not want to do. What I am tired of hearing about is the complaints long after a situation has come and gone. I'm talking YEARS! I still see people I grew up with, years older than me, living in the pain they experienced as young teenagers and allowing it to dictate how they walk out life with Jesus now. It used to make me sad, now I'm just angry... and I think it's a good anger.
The church is a group of flawed human beings who all come together in hopes that they can meet Jesus together. The church is within you, the church is around you, but the church, until Jesus returns, is made up of FLESH. Do you understand this?
I can't tell you how sick it makes me to think about the mass amounts of adults my age who have almost altogether given up on attending a church UNLESS it has a certain "hipster" quality to it. Am I right, or am I right? The church works if the worship isn't too long, too intense, there isn't any spontaneous singing, and the sermon is kept under 45min where they talk about things that don't challenge me too much. Let's not engage in anything too "out there." No prophecy or gifts of the spirit. Let's not rock the boat or cause a scene that would make people stare. We don't want OUR Christianity to be noticed...which is not Biblical. Or did I misunderstand the scripture where God says "let your light so shine before men THAT THEY MAY SEE your good works, and glorify your God who is in heaven." Matt. 5:16
And if they aren't finding what they want from a church, they are creating it within their own lives. We suddenly don't find worth in actually attending a church, because we are above the system. We can't learn anything, can't grow, and we certainly aren't going to "put God in a box". And you know what? To some degree I completely agree. We don't need a church building to find Jesus. He is in us and always speaking and teaching. The same God who moved and breathed in King David, Solomon, and Paul is the same God who wants to move in us in the same ways. God isn't a system. So I agree with you there, but I am tired of the stubborn mentality that attending a church body is no longer needed, or that a person is almost "less than" if they do attend church. GROW UP. When you begin to deny a church body with that mentality you are actually doing the very thing you left the church for in the first place.
And if I may quickly mention, politics is quickly becoming a new church or religion for many of my generation. I am watching as we live for our political views instead of Christs. It's sad and extremely frustrating to watch as so many of my friends are putting their faith in one political view or another. I see my generation spending more time pushing their political agenda with force instead of asking God about His plans. It's becoming a god, an idol, a worship, a way of life. There is only One Way, One Truth, and One life, and He does not deal in political systems. I strongly suggest you lay that at His feet.
How about this idea that being a fully "sold out" Christian is no longer cool!? It's the kind of crap that makes my blood boil. No, you don't have to wear "what would Jesus do" bracelets, or sing along to "Jesus Freak". But you know what, I am SICK of watching the adults my age have a lazy disconnected faith. I have been made fun of, in the past year even, for never being drunk, smoking, or doing drugs... by other Christians. That somehow actually having some standards made me less of a person because I didn't experience enough of "the world" so I can't properly connect with people who don't know Jesus.
I used to live with 3 girls who didn't know the Lord. They all drank, eventually starting smoking pot, and as I was moving out one started doing crack. I can say that I had an amazing relationship with each one of those girls. Not because I joined them in their bad habits, but because I asked the Lord to teach me how to love them in the midst of their pain. The last thing I wanted to do was leave a bad taste in their mouth about Jesus. But I didn't enter in, I didn't cave. I did hold them when they were sick from drinking too much, tell them I loved them, laughed with them, lived life with them in every other way. But when those activities took place, I went to my room or left the house. I never left out of anger. I always left making sure they knew I loved them. In turn, they came to me and processed their faith. They asked for advice. They cried with me, and trusted me. I am giving this as an example to say, you DO NOT have to personally experience "the world" to be able to connect with it. Jesus was perfect and yet manged to hang out with the "sinners and tax collectors" and was respected for it.
I have had to deal with feeling rejected because of living life with what some would consider "higher standards". I have even been called a prude by others who love Jesus. When did we start judging people for making good choices? Or I guess I should ask, WHY? I can't tell you how frustrating it is to see my age group walking around partying, cussing, smoking, drinking too much and somehow saying it is all covered under grace. I am tired of watching as people "believe" in God, but would NEVER want anyone to know they were a Christian because "Christians get such a bad wrap these days." GUESS WHAT!? There are a lot of Christians that are truly messed up and living in deception and if you don't get up off your butt and do something about it NOTHING will happen. If you are so in shame by your own "people" then DO SOMETHING about it. Pretending to NOT be in love with Jesus does nothing but sadden the heart of the God who is wildly in love with you, and desperately waiting for you to feel the same about Him. But as you deaden your heart so as not to create a scene you deaden your relationship with Him. Jesus was not a well liked man in His time. What is this idea that we need to be liked by those who don't agree? Be loving, be Christlike, be Jesus to those around you, but I can promise you that trying to fit Christianity to make it "cooler" or less obvious is nothing short of sickening. You are not being cool, you are living in deception. The enemy has found a way to keep you from moving forward without entering in to any "real" sin, because it's not the obvious kind.
Let's stop the mindset that we have to "experience it" to make Christians seems cooler. LOVE people. LOVE is what it's all about. The common thread is that everyone wants to be loved and accepted right where they are at, whether drunk or priest. Let's make that our mode of common ground with those that don't know Jesus, instead of using sloppy grace to get by.
Rise up church! Rise up 20 something's and 30 something's! GROW UP! Quit blaming where you are at 30 from something that happened when you were 19. You are not 19 anymore, and wherever you were hurt there was/is redemption waiting for you in Jesus. You have full access to His gifts everyday. You have full freedom from the day He said "It is finished." NO MORE EXCUSES! He is a God far above this world, far above our circumstance, far above the stupid things people may do or say. Give Him some credit! Stop hiding in the shadows. Stop blame shifting. STOP DENYING YOUR FAITH IN JESUS BECAUSE YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SEEN AS "UNCOOL".
It's time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It's time to GROW the heck UP! Live at a higher standard. Demand more of yourself in Jesus. Dig deep, and don't be afraid. I promise you, I PROMISE YOU, HE WILL MEET YOU! Denying Him FULL access to your spirit only means you have denied yourself full access to your destiny. You want freedom? set others free. You want forward movement in your life? Stop living in the past. Believe that God is who He says He is, who He has been saying He is for years and years and years.
Get over yourself kids, and I mean kids. Get over yourself. There is no one greater than He who sits on the throne and it is time to get out of His chair, people. GET OUT OF HIS CHAIR. No matter how much you want to be in control, you aren't. No matter how much you want to make it all work for your lifestyle, it doesn't. Get over yourself. Adopt the mindset of Jesus, and be humbled.
Greater is He that is in me, than He that is in the world. Greater is HE. GREATER IS HE. There is none like you Lord! May we stop trying to expect Your perfection from those around us. May we stop assuming we are better than You. There is none greater! You are worthy! You are worthy! You ALONE are worthy!