I’m not sure if I should write this… but my heart is heavy. I spent an hour and a half on the phone yesterday with my friend listening to her hurt and anger with a “spiritual leader.” I feel her pain. There have been many of those people who I have been at odds with, and still am in some cases, in my life. The current thorn in my side is a spiritual leader at a pretty close to home church. I see him spew hatred against Muslims, Democrats, rebels, and of course, grace teachers like me. He likes to use spiritual jargon and five point verse break downs to prove his point and approaches everything as an argument. He continually speaks of God chastising us and approaching God with fear and trembling as if God is some kind of evil task master waiting for his chance to point out what we have done wrong. He constantly speaks with aggression and even when he speaks of God’s love it is laced with prejudice and selectivity. When I see God portrayed like this it deeply angers me, it also saddens me. I pity him. How miserable a life it must be to live in constant fear of not being good enough for God’s blessings, or worrying about what will happen if you don’t complete your spiritual check list for the day, or even having to think about what you can do to please God more. I hurt for him because he has no concept of the depth of God’s love for him. He lives his life in constant fear of God and comparison to others… how exhausting that must be! I never was good at the whole keeping the Law concept of Christianity which is why for a long time I wanted nothing to do with God because I thought that was the only way he could relate to us. It’s hard for me to understand why anyone would want to live so held captive by the fear that religion brings. I know that that is all he’s ever known; like a nursery rhyme a child repeats over and over, He has heard this message of working and doing to gain from God. I know he will probably never read this, but if he does I have a message for him. There is freedom! Christ IS freedom. He doesn’t want to make you feel fear, hurt, worry, unworthy, unloved, or undeserving. He wants a vibrant, crazy, intimate, life changing, heart freeing, desire creating relationship with you that makes you overflow with love and joy. His grace is not just for when you die, to save you from Hell, but also for your life, to save you from your everyday hurts. He wants nothing more than to embrace you and show you how extravagant his love truly is… and rules can’t contain or express that love! You don’t have to do anything to earn it, it’s yours, God’s favor in its fullness, all you have to do is reach out and take it! It’s that simple. Just jump and let him catch you. Have faith enough to take a chance that God has something greater for you than your spiritual bondage. Just jump. Jump.