Religion Doesn’t Always Reflect Christ

April 14, 2017

Religion. It’s something we’re not supposed to talk about at parties. I love Jesus but something in me cringes if someone calls me religious – it has a negative connotation for me. I think of zealots. People who picket instead of feed or love. Throughout history, horrible acts – bombing, murder, beheading – have been done in the name of religion – and still are. I am about relationship. Relationship with God, Jesus and others. There is much that bothers me about religion.

Let me be clear – I am not bashing church. Jesus established the church for Christians to worship, pray and encourage one another. Church is supposed to be a hub where we get what we need to be light in the world. If you are a Christian, you are the church, I am the church. Church done right reflects the unconditional love of Christ – it brings the kingdom from up there to down here.

When I talk about religion, I am talking about man made rules and legalism. Stuff that has nothing to do with Jesus and feels like control. People who put their own thoughts, views and interpretations on who Jesus is and what it means to be His follower. Pharisees. Those more interested in establishing what they think is right and a system for judging those who differ.

Jesus was always ticking off Pharisees – another reason I love Jesus. He was always going against their man made laws disguised as religious doctrine. He ate with sinners, healed on the Sabbath and regularly challenged their rules publicly. Jesus had a lot to say to and about Pharisees.

In Matthew 23:28 Jesus calls them out – “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness”

In the past, this has been me. I thought being Christian meant I had to have it all together. After all, I was supposed to be new and done with “old ways.” I forced myself into a version of who I thought I was supposed to be. I learned church lingo and to quote scripture when people had problems. I basically faked it because I wanted to fit in and be accepted. Christian meant I had to fit the mold. I was one person in my regular life and another at church. My sin, my weaknesses were never spoken of or confessed because at church we’re all perfect. There is a difference between church culture and the church.

Legalism, rules and sameness have nothing to do with loving and following Jesus. Share on X

Part of why I want to write this blog is to encourage those, like me, who may not fit the mold. I want to say there is room – Jesus has a place for imperfect, human you. God loves all of us.

  • He loves the atheist
  • the person who is gay
  • the one who had the abortion
  • the imperfect Christian – all of us.

Jesus came to save the world and He is the Way, the truth and the light – not religion.

How have you been turned off or hurt by religion?

More about Liz

I'm a free spirit. I hate rules and legalism. I love art and nature, music, the beach and dogs. I like to garden, take pictures and read. I tend to speak my mind and have a rip-the-band-aid -off approach to life. (Brace yourself, this might hurt.)

    1. How amazing your blog started on a day I woke up with doubts. Doubts of my self worth. Doubts of God. Doubts of the life here after. Fear of death. I cannot wait to read more. I hear your voice in my head as I read your words and smile. I will be reading this to your Grandmother today!

      1. Wow! Thank you! Your comment makes me happier than I can say. I love you so much and you are a blessing to me so the fact that this blessed you means the world to me.

    1. Liz, your new site is beautiful!
      Your phrase, “There is a difference btwn church culture and the church” is so right on!
      Praying that those who need your perspective and words are led here by His Spirit. Blessings on this new endeavor.

      1. Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment. Your kind words and encouragement are a blessing. ❤️

    1. Liz,
      I love Jesus. And I know that He loves everyone from all walks of life, including those that don’t appear to fit the religious mold. I have not been turned off or hurt by religion. Although, I have certainly walked through many difficult things, and been disappointed by those who wear the badge of Christ yet don’t act anything like Him. You see, I believe in the power and strength of the church – what the Bible refers to as the Bride of Christ. Is it imperfect? You bet! Does the church/religion fail people? Of course. But I believe that these things occur where ever any group of people gather regularly because groups of people are made up of imperfect humans. And imperfect humans fail, and are selfish, and can very inconsiderate and mean at times.

      And so I press on and love Jesus and his group of imperfect people both in the church and outside the church. I belong to a church, because I believe there is Biblical principal for doing so, “forsake not the assembling of yourself together.”… “and He gave some pastors, and teachers, and pastors….”

      What an excellent blog you have!! I am so excited for your launch! I am looking forward to lots of healthy discussions on the wonderful,thought provoking topics you bring to us. Bless you my friend!!

      1. Thank you for reading, your comments and friendship. You have an amazing heart and I’m really glad the church has been a source of comfort and strength for you. I don’t disagree with your comments but church can be a lonely place for some of us. People and churches aren’t perfect and there’s plenty of grace to cover it all. Sometimes those experiences become tied to God and who He is. Sometimes those experiences keep people from God. Hopefully my point is to look to God and not people or man made religion. Love you girl! Thanks for joining the conversation – important words. ❤️

    1. Always appreciate your free spirit, honest heart and humbleness. Thank you for writing and expressing what so many of of think and feel.

      1. Thank you, Kim ❤️I love and appreciate your friendship and you are REAL. I can be myself with you and that is a gift! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    1. This is so true. My husband and I follow Christ and pray daily but we do not belong to a church right now. We looked for a bit but didn’t find a right fit and what I felt in my heart is that God needed me and us to work on our faith together right now- alone with only Him. I do pray for fellowship and find him sprinkling it here and there (like bumping into your blog ☺️) with people who encourage and view the relationship similarly. I just got sucked into your blog – your words and outlook is a breath of fresh air and it is so evident that you have such a kind soul. I will visit often ?

      1. Hi Paige!

        I’m glad you found me too. Keep on seeking – it sounds like you are on a journey with Him. ❤️ Another blog you may enjoy is Addie she also speaks eloquently to the issue of relationship with God and man made religion.

    1. Oh my word! This was absolutely awesomely amazing! Girl you had me jumping up and down, fist pumping screaming “that’s right! Go Jesus!!!!” This is what I try so hard to get across to people who don’t know Him but have been jaded by religious Christians. God loves us all! Period! Dang I just pulled a Sean Spicer. 😁 But that’s really all there is to it. It’s not conditional! Thanks for this wonderful blog! God bless!

      1. Hi Katt! Your comment made me smile and laugh! God bless you too! I can tell you are a light in the world and I love your heart for Jesus – you get it. Thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings friend ❤️

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