Although my life is now centered around Jesus, the Bible, and building up the Church, this wasn’t always the reality. Much of my life was spent on the total opposite end of the spectrum, and it took some big steps for me to truly see what I was missing out on. I was truly blinded to what Jesus had to offer, and I blame my pride for getting in the way.
1. I thought Jesus’ followers were hypocrites.
I found out I was right. It seemed that everyone who claimed to be a Christian also turned out to be the worlds biggest hypocrite. I’d take time to listen to an individuals rant about what Jesus did on the cross, why I needed to follow him, and how my life could be different with him. Then, in the same day I would see that person doing something the Bible would consider “sinful.” It didn’t make sense to me that Christians were preaching a gospel they themselves weren’t following.
I needed to see the bigger picture. I soon realized that I could not base my view of Christianity off of Jesus’ followers, but instead I was called to focus on Jesus himself. When I did this, my entire outlook on who he was completely changed. I realized that no Christian is perfect, and that the beauty of Jesus is his willingness to forgive us even when we mess up.
2. I didn’t want Jesus telling me how to live my life.
I hated the idea of someone telling me how to live my life, how to dress, and what kind music I should listen to. Although I didn’t have much of my own vision for this things, I definitely didn’t want some random guy telling me how to live life either. I felt that Jesus was looking to pressure me into being someone I wasn’t.
I let my pride get in the way. Jesus wasn’t looking to control me like a robot, but instead give me the wisdom and guidance I needed to live a fulfilling and gospel centered life. When I stopped being selfish, I could then see the awesomeness Jesus was looking to instill in my life. He was looking to guide me, not control me. Any loving parent would do the same.
3. I thought all Jesus wanted was my money.
I felt that every time I stepped into a church or conference, all they were asking for was a tithe or donation. Not to mention those TV preachers who were constantly asking me to send them money, all in order to be healed and prayed for. It didn’t make sense to me. In fact, it confused and hurt me more than anything.
I needed to stop fully basing my view of Jesus by what I saw on television or heard in a church service. I had to understand that much of today’s churches are run off donations people make from the heart, and that sometimes there are going to be people who will take advantage of it. I can’t let the many bad examples of The Church ruin my overall support of it. Jesus isn’t looking for my money, he’s looking for my heart.
4. I thought church was boring, and a waste of time.
I really hated the idea of attending youth-group when I was younger. Although I am aware there are many wonderful and exciting youth-movements for today’s generation, the ones I attended as a teenager weren’t one of them. I constantly begged my parents to allow me to stay at home, or even go to service with them. In the end, I always found myself sitting in the back-row of some youth-group, bored out of my mind while some hyper youth pastor tried to explain the Bible to me.
I never actually took a step to get involved. The only person I can blame for my lousy church experience growing up is me. I realized that the second I took initiative to get plugged-in, I soon found myself surrounded by friends, excitement, and purpose that could not be matched. Church gives what you and I put into it.
5. I only saw judgment coming from people who claimed to love Jesus.
Megaphones, street-evangelism, and “God Hates F*gs” picket-signs were my example of Jesus’ so called love for people. I couldn’t find myself joining someone who’s followers were this judgmental and crude.
This wasn’t a true reflection of Jesus. The only picket-signs Jesus would be holding are ones that read, “God Loves You.” Once again, I had to stop basing my view of Jesus off of people who claim to be Christians. There will always be bad examples, no matter the circumstance. If anything, this encourages me to be the difference.
I realized that much of my hatred towards Jesus was due to my own personal ignorance. Once I started seeking Jesus for who he actually was, I noticed that all of my hatred and confusion ceased to exist. I found myself looking into the eyes of a man who loved his children, and only sought the best for them.