Let’s have a chat about Jesus.
Christianity, like all things, can be interpreted and lived in different ways, with different intentions. If filtered through love, I believe Christianity is an amazing, beautiful, great way to live your life – its a good thing. But, if filtered through hate and anger, it can be a powerfully destructive, scary and bad thing, used to judge, condemn and hate on people.
I choose to be a Christian, and I chose to be the kind of Christian that filters my belief system through love.
Jesus didn’t hate anybody. Jesus loved everybody. And that’s the Christ that I want to be like.
I don’t want to have any hate in my heart; I want to fill it up only with love, acceptance, happiness, gratitude . I don’t want there to be any room for hatred, grudges, judgement, meanness. I know I’m so very far from perfect, and as a human I can never be perfect like Jesus – but that’s the goal to work towards. To try to be as like Him as you can.
I think that’s what being a Christian means – you want to model your life after Jesus, be like Him, and celebrate Him. And the Jesus I’m getting to know, He only has love for the world.
I want to clarify: the people that use Christianity to hate others, to attack and judge others – that is not me, and I have no interest in living my life like that. None whatsoever. I’ve seen “Jesus Camp,” and “Hell House,” and other documentaries about Evangelical Christians that can be pretty over the top, and just well… scary. Or groups like Westboro Baptist Church, for example, they spew hatred and they are so opposite of what I want to be. Those are the people who take the Bible, and Christianity, and filter it through hate. They’re on the attack, and they’re ready to judge and pounce on others. I don’t see the point in using my energy like that, and it makes me sad. It feels like a misuse to me, an abuse of the Word.
I want to be happy, help others, love everyone. I want to accept people the way they are – the way God made them – and love them as is. I want to filter everything through love.
I have been reading the Bible lately. Studying it. And I love it. Its beautiful. To live your life by the ideas Jesus taught seems like a great thing to me. To embrace the big ideas and try for them. Not to be legalistic, nit pick, and make life about rules and do things just because the Bible says I have to. That’s not the point either. Its about feeling it with your heart and living it because you believe in it.
I’ve been reading the Book of Matthew (which is lovely by the way) – and the tenants I’m taking home from the Gospel: love everyone, don’t judge others, accept everyone for who they are, don’t talk trash about people, don’t be mean, just love, love, love.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV) tells us: “serve one another humbly in love.” What a beautiful concept. Its so simple, but there it is. Serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5 goes on, 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (NIV).
The Word is right there, and its awesome. What a concept. Can you even imagine a world where everyone promoted love, peace, faithfulness, gentleness, etc?
My understanding, and what I’m cool with, is that being a Christian means loving the world. Don’t have room in your heart for hate. Respect and be grateful for everything God has given us (go green!). Just try to be the best version of yourself that you can be. Seems so simple and awesome and good, and that’s why I’m down with it.
I’m human though, so as great as my ideas and intentions sound – I know that in practice I have such a long way to go. I know this. I know I’m a sinner – and a crazy sinner at that. (Let’s not even go there, right?) I don’t feel guilt, regret, or anything like that when I examine my life. I know I’ve been where I was to get to where I am. And where I am now is amazing. I do feel apologetic for the bad things I’ve done, but life is about moving forward.
Rather than wallow in my past, I seek forgiveness and I seek to learn from my mistakes and improve as a person. And you know what? Jesus is so down with that. He’s all about forgiveness and second chances, about getting up after you stumble, dusting yourself off and taking it from there.
For my friends who read my facebook updates and are sitting there with furrowed brows wondering what the eff Rose has gotten into now… IT’S STILL ME! I promise. I”m not drinking the kool-aid and becoming a robot. I’m just studying a way of life that shows me how to be the best version of myself, and I like it. The more I learn about pure Christianity, the more it appeals to me. And as fun as my wild days were (I wouldn’t trade my memories for anything), I like growing up and cleaning up and getting my act together. I like being a positive and optimistic person and putting love out into the world.
I’ll always be nuts and silly. But, I love the way I’m living now, I love the happiness and peace I feel.
So my message to everyone who reads this, my belief in making the world a happier, better place – whether you choose to be a Christian or not: filter your life through love. Take everything you hear, see, and do… and run it through some love. Love what you have, and the people you meet, and the beautiful earth you live on.
And if you do choose to be a Christian, I hope and pray you filter your beliefs through love. I hope you interpret the Word through love. And I hope you act in love. Its what Jesus would do. “They will know we are Christians by our love.”