I heard something today that sparked a question in my heart.
A young woman was giving the story of her life and she was saying that she had a good, normal life with school and friends until her mother got into a new ‘religion’. After that she wasn’t allowed to have friends and couldn’t go any place without certain people supervising her. She ended up just staying in the house and even her reading material was monitored along with any computer or television time. She said that her dad was in the Army and didn’t know this was happening but when he came home and saw what was going on he gave the mother the choice of giving up her new life and friends or lose her daughter. Sadly her daughter did not win that popularity contest and the dad took her with him.
This woman gave up her husband and her own child because of the influence of this religious sect.
So I wondered, what has a religion like that to offer besides the imprisonment of mind and activity that Christianity lacks?
Finding a Christian in this world today is like trying to play a game of Where’s Waldo out in the real world! Everyone looks the same, ok that’s fine but should they also be judged on their actions I fear we would still be looking for the Waldo out there cleverly disguised and looking and acting for all the world like everyone else.
I think we are too easy on our converts. We don’t demand they live in separate quarters from their family and study church rules and regulations until they can pass really strenuous testing to make sure they have it ingrained in their very inner being. We don’t monitor their every movement to make sure they are associating with the wrong people. We don’t ask them to let their superiors in the religion make all their life decisions for them and if their relatives don’t agree with their new lifestyle they must be cut completely out of their life. We don’t make them try to make an escape during the night hours or find they are being watched even at the grocery store.
So what is wrong with us?
Instead of simply asking that they live a good life following the basic Ten Commandments and follow the teachings of Jesus by loving our neighbor as our own self. We ask that they believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to this earth and was born in a manger to the Virgin Mary, that he performed many miracles while walking with His disciples and that He was taken to die by being hanged on a cross after being beaten and having a crown of thorns trust into his head and finally that after he had died and was buried that He rose again on the third day and lives forever at the right hand of the Father. His death was not just a call for sympathy or the beginning of a magnificent trick to wow the crowd by coming back and being seen in person by more than five hundred people but to offer us the same eternal life that He has by forgiving us of our many sins.
Is it the “loving your neighbor” as yourself that makes it impossible to tell us apart from any other group of people?
Perhaps if we started making new Christians, people that have found the love of God and forgiveness of sins, do something dramatic, maybe wearing costumes that set us apart so that when people see us in the grocery store they will recognize us as being ‘set apart’.
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
We as Christians just have it too easy…