No One Taught You To Love You
I was having a conversation with someone the other day about why so many people seem to be turned off to Christianity and are walking away from the Church.
We listed all the reasons that people typically give:
"Christians are judgmental."
"Church is an unsafe place to be if you're 'different' in any way."
"The Church is irrelevant to most people."
The list got longer and longer. Honestly, we could have kept going.
Later, I got to thinking about how we could rattle off all of the symptoms of the problem with relative ease. In fact, we got a lot of energy from doing so--albeit not the kind of energy that felt all that productive.
When we try to get to the bottom of the issue, though. That's where it gets a bit tricky. The answers don't come as easily then. Which is why I've been thinking about this more deeply since then.
So if all of those things are true about Christians and the Church how does that happen? How do Christians get so far afield when it comes to the mandate from Jesus himself to love God and love everybody?
And why are people who are not part of the Church so quick to jump on this sad fact and use it to shore up their own negative feelings about Christianity?
I think it all comes from the same place. We've all become addicted to what the Christian mystic Anthony DeMello refers to as the "...drug called approval, appreciation and attention."
All of us, Christian or not, are constantly seeking purpose and meaning outside of ourselves. Our well-being rises and falls based on our unhealthy attachments to others, and even to our own beliefs (or unbeliefs) about God.
The poet r.h.Sin sums it up like this:
No one taught you
to love you
and that's your biggest problem
searching for validation
in people who will never
accept you for you
being made to feel
like you're not good enough
trying to prove yourself
to those who will never
be good enough for you...
If those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus would truly follow Him, then we would do well to fully embrace his teachings on becoming less, racing to the bottom, surrendering our attachments and thereby finding all that we seek in God.
And to anyone who may not get this whole Christian thing, you need to know this. No matter what else you might hear, the essence of the Christian faith is this:
You are loved. You are cherished. God is for you. Jesus is proof of this. Don't be afraid anymore.And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.
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