Before you start thinking I’ve gone off the deep end, please drop your stones. I love Jesus more than anything, but “I’m not really religious.” I have gotten into more conversations lately about this idea of “being religious”, so much so that it has begged the question, “Why don’t you write about it?” So, here goes. Sometimes this statement “I’m not really religious” is more of a disclaimer, just in case someone else might think otherwise. People will preface their conversations about God with this definitive statement, “I’m not really religious, but…” Maybe because they would be ashamed to associate themselves with this God, maybe because we’ve become far too good at throwing stones…I don’t know, but I keep hearing this statement said, and today, I’d like to address it.
To all the not really religious out there:
You’re in good company because I’m not really religious either. I didn’t sign up for pious living when I met my Savior at His cross. I haven’t stepped into the role of perfectionism the day I became forgiven. I haven’t lined up behind the mega-phone toting street preachers throwing stones of judgment. I’m not about a list of duties, obligations, dos and don’ts that you might affiliate with some “religious people” that you know. The One I follow isn’t religious either. The One I serve rebuked the religious people of His day. The One I preach modeled love, grace, AND truth in blended perfection. The One I love created relationship, and built us for relationship with Him.
Do you call that religion? I don’t. I define this as relationship. I apologize on behalf of the church for the wounds you have endured by those that claim to bear the name of Jesus but only use His name to inflict hurt, shame, and abuse. Jesus is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life, but that is an invitation, not a condemnation. He invites you into this relationship, and the love in Him that you will come to know will change your life. It will create within you new longings. It will cause you to desire obedience. It will pull you away from your life that was far from Him, and usher you into new life that is near Him. It will teach you what love really is, and it will show you how to walk in it. Love, joy, and peace will become your new reality as pride, guilt, and deception burn away.
Do you call this religion? I don’t. I define this as relationship.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Jesus