Your longest understanding of me was altered with velocity a few years ago. I am merciful toward your bafflement about my conversion to Christianity. For decades, you and I discussed the absurdity of the Christian faith. We mocked, razzed and ridiculed those who spoke biblically. It was one of our choice commonalties and pastimes.
I find myself looking through a keyhole to the entire universe that is quite different than before. I would be eager to tell you all about everything I have learned. My guess is that you are not a willing listener. I wouldn’t give Christians two minutes for most of my life. I remember. Still, I would be more than remiss if I said nothing. Life is, five minutes from now, not assured. You and I love one another. Writing can be read or not read, thus my offering provides you with an option.
You have discernment. You know when the emperor has no clothes. You can see right through the pretense. For instance, we talked a lot about the charade, you and I; people who were filled with pride and boastful regard of their works or giving. I loved learning that, actually, Jesus said, ”So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret…” There’s so much of what we judged that is not based on Scripture but, rather, on human interpretation or lack of understanding.
I am not coming to you as a student of Greeting Card Christianity. God doesn’t promise things will change. Struggles have not left my life. He does, though, promise that we will change. I rejoice that my name is written in heaven and that my citizenship is there. If we only emphasize that God is love, like so many preached to us, if there is no scriptural understanding deeper than that, you could indeed misconstrue that and so that when pain occurs, you could rightfully respond, “Keep your God.”
But, Jesus didn’t suffer so that you wouldn’t suffer. He died so that when you suffer you would become like Him. C.S. Lewis said, “I want God, not my idea of God.” When I was attacking Christians, largely, I was basing my disdain of the faith on what I knew about some of many of the representatives of which I was shown in my path. They were, at the time, the basis of what I knew to be true.
I saw a lot of bigotry, prosperity gospel and hypocrisy. I assumed Christians were kind of uninformed, too. Discovering that the Bible indicated that the earth was round, that the earth floats in space and that the universe was expanding, just to mention a few facts, all contradictory to historical science, but correct, amazed me. We finally came to the same conclusions as did Scripture, through science, but not for much time.
In fairness, I could have studied the Word before I blasted Christianity. Mainly, I trusted the opinions of others and looked to the disingenuous for further validation. I had no real notion about whether or not I was supporting my assessment of the faith on the actual Word or on the people and circumstances I often intentionally sought out to be a symbol of Christianity. I am now engaged with people of faith; those who study the Word and have created the type of church Jesus appealed to us to form.
Now that I am reading the Word, I find that, in fact, Jesus instructed his followers to embrace absolutely all people, of all nations, into the faith. There is nothing going on about exclusivity. And, ah, those slick televangelists we so abhorred, indeed, really were just pride filled wolves in sheep’s clothing, and they actually did spew out more false doctrine than I can track. You and I weren’t analyzing Christianity. We were looking at shenanigans. Also, as far as hypocrisy is concerned, Jesus recognizes it, He hates it and He made kind of a big deal about letting that be known. I encourage you to read all that He says about the subject.
Looking back, it is crazy how much I thought I knew. I concluded that it was all about blind faith and I wasn’t about to enter into that scene. Yet, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” The mind wasn’t omitted. Our thinking and studying is imperative.
Ultimately, though, the teachings of Jesus, however enlightened, encouraging, inclusive and wise, couldn’t resonate in me unless it was all more than a finely spun story. Today, I believe the Word, through faith, based on my knowledge. And, I proclaim that being a new creature in Christ is sublime.
I speak about my walk with the Lord because you matter to me and if there is any hope that we can walk together once we pass from earth, I will take the chance, albeit slight, that you may find your faith in Christ before your departure.
Jesus said, “A new command I give you; love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” I can’t love you without telling you about God. And because I believe that Jesus is who he says he is, I don’t want a loved one missing in eternity.