When Others Criticize My Faith
When I first started writing to share my experiences with God, I feared what people would think. I didn’t even begin writing for 40something years because I feared I couldn’t do it, that I wasn’t good enough. I defeated that fear and found another. We do that, don’t we? Fear always seems to find its way in. Something always tries to hold us back.
Brooke and I began Loving Christ Ministries as a way to share with women our great love for Jesus Christ. His love and grace had and has done and will do amazing things in our own lives – we, who felt flawed and unsure, scared and alone, unworthy and insignificant, were filled with Him. We wondered how many women felt the way we did and knew the numbers must be huge.
It became exciting to think about sharing Christ with everyone, about His love and acceptance, hope and grace. Our desire to build a network of women to support and encourage each other in His name moved us to act. We want all women to understand that Christ is meant for them. He is meant for us; we are all worthy of Him. He motivated us to step up out of our comfort zone and begin sharing our lives in Him with everyone we can. Yes, we know our beliefs won’t match up with everyone; that’s normal. I venture to say no two individuals have the exact same faith and beliefs.
With Loving Christ Ministries, we brainstormed ideas about how incredible God’s kingdom could be if every woman understood how valuable she is. If each one could recognize that light in her that is from Christ. Imagine that. Think of the incredible difference we could make in His name if we just had the courage to step out and love in His name, accept in His name, do for others in His name. If the joy He brings could touch the world through us…
I don’t know everything. I’m well-educated, but I didn’t go to seminary. Every day, I learn something new, some way to acknowledge Christ, some ‘how’ to share His love. There are times I fail. I’m mean or cranky. I worry and doubt. But I try to move forward in Him. I’m hoping I’ve made it to the stage of two steps forward and one step back instead of the opposite. We’ll see.
I pray my faith is an active, living, learning faith.
My bible actually gets read pretty much every day. Oh sure, there are some days when it just lays by my bedside, but those days are few. I’m in the process of writing a study over the book of Hebrews. Why Hebrews? I don’t know. Mostly because I couldn’t get Hebrews out of my head, and I believe that’s one of the ways God talks to us. I’m not sure what He wants me to learn there (faith), but I’m willing to trust and follow.
Sometimes I say bad words – not as bad as Brooke, but still. (shhh…don’t tell her I told on her). Okay, maybe sometimes they are as bad. They slip out. Sometimes I drink wine. I eat too much. I’ve lied before. I’ve even spoken badly about others. By human standards, I’m not perfect. By His, I am. I don’t strive to live those ways. I’m just human. And I’m not making excuses. I’m not saying it’s okay or not okay to ‘do’ certain things.
I think about Jesus’ NEW commandment – John 13:34 – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. Love….. I strive to let love be my intention in all I do and when I slip, I don’t excuse it but work to recognize it and do better (repentance?). The things we do aren’t necessarily sins. The way we are, our intentions, can be.
That’s why I (and I may lose some of you here) choose Christ’s new commandment over everything. It’s new because everything had been so rules based for so long, and no one could keep up. They were lost. So Christ came and gave us a new commandment. He shared the ultimate example of this by His death on the cross. I am awed and humbled by His love. I choose it – love. Whatever is done in love – true, unconditional, unselfish love – is okay by me. If you have love, there’s no judgement, murder, lies, violence…love fulfills the law.
Many months ago, when I finally started writing, I wrote a series on worthiness (or lack thereof). My focus was for each woman to understand that because of Christ, through Christ, we are worthy. I won’t rewrite my thoughts from those posts here, but I’ll link to them at the bottom of this post if you’re interested.
If people don’t read the complete posts, they may believe my goal is to focus only on ourselves and not on Jesus. That has never been my intention. I just know that if we don’t believe we are worthwhile, if we don’t love who we are, then we can’t authentically and confidently share Him with others. We can’t love others as ourselves if we don’t love ourselves.
It’s my faith, and I take complete ownership in it. I share it not because anyone needs to have my faith but because by learning through and with others she can nourish her own faith. Christ is a personal journey, one that I would pray is not guided by the laws of the Old Testament but by His NEW commandment.
Yes, I’ve been afraid to write my story, my beliefs. I don’t want to offend. I don’t want to be criticized or be made to feel less. However, I can’t see how unconditional love can offend. I am confident in Christ, in my faith, in how I love in Him. I will continue to be true to myself and my relationship with God and will always pray that whomever might need my words will hear them.
And so to the one who suggested I needed to read my bible and flee the church that has been teaching me these things, I love you.
My cup runneth over.
Here are links to the ‘controversial’ posts: