My very best friend from my 20’s until she died at 41 left the church at 18. She left because every year the denomination to which she subscribed would have an ” pro life ” … ” people who have had abortions are bad” series of sermons.
She never lost her faith she just lost her ” religion”.
I think a lot of that happens in our places we chose to worship. I myself walked away from my place of ” religion” due to a message preached on … “depending on how much you give financially will determine or prove how much you love Jesus.” As soon as that sermon was preached I walked away knowing I could not raise my children in an environment that held this view of Jesus. I think our ideas of Jesus and what he was truly all about have been really screwed up for a long time.
It isn’t about adhering to one denomination or religion it is about adhering to a savior and his requirement to love others and love him. It isn’t the denomination or lack there of that makes any difference. There are plenty of Jesus followers who are Baptist Methodist Jewish Muslim Catholic Episcopalian and many others that I am leaving out. Because it isn’t the title on the door you walk in, it is the title you give to the one who died for you rose again and now has given us one rule to all follow. Love the Lord your God with all your heart mind and spirit and love others just as Christ has loved you. Jesus way is harder yet simplistic. It would be much easier to follow many rules and just be able to check them off… went to church … check… gave money …. check … didn’t swear today didn’t get drunk …. blah blah blah… we can all check boxes. But can we love …. the person you hate. The person you disagree with the person who doesn’t think like you. The person who was ugly to your kid …. even Jesus said … anyone can love someone who is lovable. …. Jesus took it to the extreme. He died for people who would never love him … who cursed him as he was dying … he did all that to show us what true love looks like ..
You really don’t have to get so caught up in labeling ” other people’s sins” or gossiping on ” did you see how they are living their life” …when you have to take a good look at your own life and ask ” am i loving like Jesus loves me”
Why do you think Jesus hung out with the “riff raff” ( so to speak) The SCUM as the writer of the book of Mark chapter 2 calls them…The prostitutes..the sick…the tax collectors..the adulterers ..the unclean…because he knew they needed to find “love”…as the cliche ( and bible verse says) ….” love covers a multitude of sins” ..People who need love ( which is all of us) are naturally drawn to someone who will love us unconditionally without judgement…You see i think we have screwed up the idea of Jesus…he didn’t come to judge ..he came to seek and to save those who needed love..
I’m always amused by people who want to have “ sin debates”
What do you think of homosexuality.. what about abortion .. divorce … and on and on.. and yet they don’t want to discuss in the same tone of voice…what do you think about worry, anger, gossiping unkind words … because unless I’m mistaken. Jesus only died once for all “ sin”. So what makes you think your sin is any less in gravity than your neighbors.
Once again it is focusing on the sin and not the savior. If we focus only on him the rest tends to work itself out without our help.