Recently, I have found that one of the most troublesome aspects of Christianity is a lack of faith in ourselves. I can’t seem to understand why our own experiences with God aren’t just as important as anyone else’s. Christians seem to forget that we are ALL human and we are ALL of equal worth.
My last post, Anti-CHILL, caused quite a bit of controversy in my school, and one of the leaders texted me a month ago, asking, “What does the Kingdom of God gain from you tearing down a Christian organization seeking to equip and motivate the next generation.” I used Martin Luther as an example of a Christian who disagreed with the religious practices of that time and spoke out against them. I was then reminded of the fact that I am not Martin Luther. And, I’m more than willing to say that that statement is completely true. I do, however, think that it’s important to note another truth. Martin Luther was a human being. The Apostle Paul was a human being. The Pope is a human being. Your pastor is a human being. Each author of the Bible was a human being.
I have come to find much comfort in that realization. So many of the beliefs we have and hold dear originate from the bold, radical ideas of other people. They questioned, and they dared to be different, putting value in their own personal views and experiences with God. It’s sad to think that we put limits on who is allowed to be one of these revolutionary people. We lift up certain figures for their courage in speaking out with a new way of thinking, (I mean, that’s what Jesus did, right?) yet we quickly pull verses from the Bible to prevent new ways of thinking that come from our neighbors.
We put more worth in some people than we do in others, and I refuse to believe that’s okay. When my friends and I had a disagreement about how the CHILL should accept new leaders, I was frequently reminded of how every spiritual leader they had consulted agreed with them and how they formed the policy based upon Biblical principles.I’d like to encourage you to consider that you might be just as capable of knowing the nature of Christ as any spiritual leader or author of the Bible. (I like to think that Jesus really did call the outcasts instead of the Pharisees.)
The Pharisees are such a humbling reminder of the fact that no matter how well we know scripture or how righteously we live, we still might be wrong. With that being said, I believe in unconditional love and grace, and I believe that redemption wins. For everyone. I don’t think that the Apostle Paul had a better understanding of Jesus than I do, but I also don’t think that I have a better understanding than you. We all just have different understandings, and that’s okay.
I thought that anyone should be welcomed as a leader of CHILL, regardless of where I thought they were in their spiritual journey. My understanding led me to think it was more loving than requiring them to keep the right rules. We all fall short, and filling that gap with love is what God does for us. Maybe we can learn to do that for one another. Maybe we can learn to value our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions-because we are all created in God’s image, and we are all capable of having worthy experiences with Him.
I hope you find the courage to trust yourself. Please don’t ever let anyone tell you that your beliefs and standing up for those beliefs is wrong. I hope you realize how much worth you have, and how much you truly matter. I hope love fills your life. And, most importantly, I hope you decide to be bold-even though you aren’t Martin Luther.
1 Corinthians 16:23-24,