What really matters?
What is it that you believe? Most likely if you’re reading this blog, you believe in God. Good for you- but so does the devil (James 2:19)… So why do you believe? What is it about God that made you accept Him? And then what made/makes you stay with Him?
I had an enthralling conversation with my ‘baby’ sister the other night during a holiday family visit. The rest of our family had gone to bed, and I’ve found this is when we’re truly honest. We discussed many Biblical topics, including our upbringing, our testimonies, our learnings and our life experiences. It was awesome. While we’re both from the same family, I’m sixteen years older than she, therefore we’ve had very different experiences growing up. I was the first born; the 'experiment'. She was the last one; the ‘third times a charm’… She was raised in church continually; went to a Bible college; and married a Christian… I was not and did not. She took numerous theological courses that tested her beliefs on controversial topics from the Bible. Her viewpoint was refreshing and enlightening. (And I will admit up front that she is more scholarly than I am in many topics.) I won’t go into our beliefs, opinions or thoughts, but what we determined was that Christians don’t agree on much. We have God’s Word, and we distort Scripture to back up what we want it to say. We take it out of context and use it to condemn others (including ‘our own kind’). It’s sad that we use His love letter to use against Him and His children. Our many denominations (over 34000 world-wide and more than 1200 in America) disagree on some major ideals; and some minor as well. We will argue with each other, talk down to each other, and shame each other because we can’t agree on even the tiniest detail. What is wrong with us? We are missing the whole point of Christianity: Love. What kind of love are we showing each other with these demeaning arguments? What kind of love are we showing Christ by picking apart everything He said? And does much of it even matter?
Why waste time arguing over whether women can preach? Is baptism required to get into Heaven? Can you lose your Salvation? Are alcoholic beverages ‘allowed’? What date was Jesus born? Do all children go to Heaven when they die (and if so- what’s the ‘cut-off’ age)? Does God still ‘speak’ to people? Is the Rapture before or after the Tribulation? Are musical instruments or dancing allowed in Worship? Is divorce and remarriage allowed? Does hell really exist? What about the laying of hands and use of anointing oils; speaking in tongues… and the list goes on and on. I’m not saying these aren’t valid, important topics of discussion. What I’m saying is, at the end of the day, at the end of this life… how much of it will matter? Do you really think that our Loving God is going to condemn you to hell because you danced during a worship song? Or had a margarita with some friends? Or you weren’t dunked in water for a baptism? God knows our hearts. He knows the reason we do or don’t do things. He knows if we really believe and accept His sacrifice. He knows. He’s a God of second, third and so on chances… so why do we think these issues matter? Does the legalism really matter?
If we, as Christians, can’t agree to love, regardless, despite, and in spite of our failures, sins, and disagreements, then we have nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-4) If we can’t agree to disagree on legalities, and work together to spread the Gospel, then we are going nowhere. What are even doing? If we can’t get along, then why would or should unbelievers even give us the time of day to hear us out? Let’s be honest, for the most part, these issues just don’t matter. All that matters is Jesus.
God’s Book tells us everything we need to know. Does it still leave unanswered questions? Yes. Why? We’ll find out one day. (John 8:32) But possibly it’s so we can interpret some of it differently. Maybe the lack of directness is so no one is alienated; to be all-encompassing… There are so many commandments and directives given to us in the Bible. And don’t so many naysayers complain about the ‘do this, don’t do that’ mentality of the ‘judgmental’ God? Maybe these uncertainties are left open so it’s not more added to the ‘checklist’ of things God ‘requires’ from us ‘in order’ to love us. Because He is a just God, yes; but He’s also a forgiving and loving God. He is a God of mercy and grace. (Hebrews 4:16, 2 John 1:3) So, again, at the end of this life—how much of these issues really matter? Isn’t all that matters what’s in our hearts? (Galatians 5:5-6) Do we love Jesus?