Take chances. Abandon all the rules. Ditch the recipe. Color outside the lines.

Monday, June 17, 2013

6 Myths I Learned in Church

I grew up in church and I’ve heard some pretty interesting things from the pulpits, pews, and the people who fill them.  The more I dive into the truth of grace, the more I discover that some of the things I was taught, and even believed, were really just myths.  Here are a few of my personal favorite myths I heard in church.

1-  My relationship with God is perfect but my fellowship with him gets messed up when I sin.
Personally, I think this is just the Christian nitpick to justify teaching that we need to do good things to get God’s blessing.  Though it does make sense in the human mind that our failures cause God sadness or disappointment, God doesn’t work that way.  God has never done things the way we do them so what makes us think He’s going to start with this one?  We are 100% right with God, fellowship, relationship, and any other ships. 

2-  God turned His back on Jesus while he was on the cross.
What?! God didn’t do that?! I think this one gets attached to the myth that God can’t be in the presence of sin.  Which really doesn’t make sense if you think about it because, I mean, God and Satan had a face to face throw down over Job and I’m pretty sure no one could argue that Satan is sinless.  My thoughts on this particular myth is that Jesus statement of “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?”  was exactly how Jesus felt at that moment.  The weight of the world’s sin was on his shoulders as well as all the guilt, shame, and disgust that comes with sin.  How many times have you felt as if God has forsaken you? When, in actuality, He is still right there, holding you in His arms, you just can’t feel it in that moment.

3-  God expects us to give 10% of our earnings as offering.
First off, giving out of duty is without meaning and if you are doing it expecting God to bless you for your pennies in the plate then you will be sorely disappointed.  Secondly, it’s not about the amount you give but simply that it’s out of the desire of your heart.  God loves a cheerful giver.

4-  Extremes are bad.
This one I have talked about some in my writing.  So often we want to mix law and grace in together before we serve it to the world in the name of balance.  We chant “everything in moderation, nothing in excess” as if that phrase came straight from the mouth of Jesus.  God lives in the extremes.  He is all inclusive in his grace, excessive in his love, and irresponsible in his forgiveness. 

5-  God is disappointed, sad, or mad at me if I’m not doing the things a Christian should do.
(See number 1).  God is not and never will be anything but completely pleased with you.  Jesus’s payment was for ALL sins.  Not just the ones we’re sorry for, not just the ones we do good things to make up for, but ALL sins. 

6-  Jesus disliked the Pharisees because they taught and followed the law.
Jesus taught and followed the law.  What?! Yep, He did!  So… does that mean Jesus disliked himself?  No, Jesus’s issue with the Pharisees was their inserting of human tradition and regulation into the law so that it was easier to follow.  Oh, and the fact that they were breaking their own rules and taking advantage of their positions.  The point of the law was your inability to keep it and your need for sacrifice to make you right with God.  This is why Jesus makes statements like, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.  But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!”

Have you heard any of these myths in church?  Have they shaped your belief of who God is and how He sees you?  I have never been more confident in anything than I am in the fact that God sees me as perfect, offers me freedom, and demands nothing from me.  I will gladly sacrifice all I am and all I have for that truth, not because it’s expected of me but because of the depth of desire it creates within me.

*Matthew 5:43-44 (NET)

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