Okay, you guys. This is a burning… whatever you want to call it. My face squinches up whenever someone describes me (or even themselves) as “religious.” You know who was religious? The Pharisees. The Pharisees were religious. The religious people in the Bible were those who strictly abided by the law of Moses and were quick to punish someone who did not (like dragging a woman caught in adultery, who may not even have had clothes on, to Jesus [John 8:1-11]). Though in reality, they were pretty corrupt themselves. I don’t know too too much about them (I’ll probably write on them specifically when I get to the New Testament), but I do know that those were the people who were the ones who were trying to stone Jesus (who must have been an incredibly fast runner, by the way… always slipping away like that). JESUS, I said!! The One Who came to save! The religious people in the Bible were the ones who read the Word of God but when Jesus came and God’s Word “came true,” for lack of better words, they did not even (all) believe Jesus was the Messiah. (They were divided at certain points… In John 9 when Jesus healed a man born blind on the Sabbath and the man brought himself to the Pharisees, “Some of the Pharisees said, ‘This man Jesus is not from God, for he is working on the Sabbath.’ Others said, ‘But how could an ordinary sinner do such miraculous signs?’ So there was a deep division of opinion among them.” [John 9:16]) I don’t want to get too much into the religious people of the Bible because I have not read the New Testament in full and do not want to say anything that is not true. But I just wanted to give that “background information,” you could say.
The religious people today, to me, are the shake your finger, point your finger, tell you you’re “going to hell” if you don’t change, “God don’t like ugly”-saying, “God hates you if you’re xyz”-believing people. What IS that? We can’t speak for God UNLESS it is written in His Word (and we use that specific word correctly) or He directly (and sometimes indirectly, but we have to be careful) speaks to us. Romans 5:6-8 says, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NKJV) If God did not love us or hated us for our sin, He never would have sent Jesus to die for us! God is the God of LOVE, not hate! So for someone, in my opinion, to say that God hates a person because of a sin they commit makes NO sense! Does God even say that He hates anyone in the Bible? Again, I’ve yet to read it in its entirety but in the Old Testament when He was warning the Israelites to not live as those He was driving out of the Promised Land in Deuteronomy, He says that He gives us the CHOICE of a blessing or a curse. God did not want to curse them! He LOVED them. The SINS the people were committing were detestable to God, NOT the people. How many times did the Israelites break the rules? How many times did God show His love and faithfulness? Mhm! Deuteronomy 23:4-5 says that though Balaam, son of Beor, was hired to curse the Israelites, he wasn’t able to. 5″But the LORD your God refused to listen to Balaam. He turned the intended curse into a blessing because the LORD your God loves you.” (NLT) And in Isaiah 1:18, God shows His love for us when He says, “‘Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'” (NKJV) LOVE! We are sinners by nature, therefore, everyone who has said, does say, and will say that commits sins as well! And a sin is a sin is a sin! If you break one Commandment, you have broken them all! James 2:10 says, “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” (NLT) So no one could ever say that God hates you because you sin this way, but loves me because I only sin in this “little” way. And sin does not only come by breaking the Commandments. If a person knows that something- ANYTHING is wrong and then does it, that is a sin! James 4:17 says to “Remember, it is a sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” Whether it is boasting in anyone but the Lord, not tithing (which is robbing from God, but there is so much more to tithing than just giving, so I may have to get into that later), swearing, becoming drunk, partying, etc. How many times do any of us do something feel the need to go through the ol’ have-fun-today-then-go-to-church-and-repent-on-Sunday process? Seriously, none of us can say that we are more right with God than anyone else. We do not know a person’s struggle and lifestyle like God does, nor do we even know our own like He does! God loves us IN SPITE of our sins! And He always has! That’s why He sent Jesus to SAVE us and DIE for us so that we may LIVE for Him then eventually live WITH Him! Amen! That deserves a “HALLELUJAH!”
But I think I have gotten off topic… haha. But basically, “religious” people, to me, are those who condemn, rather than convict. People who speak out of disgust to “change” a person, rather than out of love to help them. I am not religious. I can’t think of a word to describe my faith or relationship with God, but one thing’s for sure: “Religious” is not the word!