Growing up it can be so easy to have your passions and dreams squashed. Even the interests you have can come under fire unless they meet the standards of those around you. One place that I have seen interests and passions die, is within the church. With this over religious view that we have to conform to a certain way to earn God’s grace. This is so wrong, we have been created individually to have our own passions and interests and this is still the same when we have our own faith. At the end of the day, our faith is our own relationship with Jesus. No traditional view or person can give us that so why allow them to control you.
Don’t get me wrong traditional views within the church can really help some people to enhance their faith, it can be a very humbling experience and one where great joy can be found. However, I think a lot of the time that traditional views within the church can kill faith. The belief, that unless you can conform to a certain way of living then you are not accepted.
That is just pure judgement, instead of getting to know a person for who they are and where their interests lie. It is just these premediated judgements. However, we all fall into this trap of judgement but it is how we choose to pursue it. Do we realise that we are doing it and make amendments or do we relish in judging how others choose to live. One of the saddest things is that Christians are more associated with the things we hate about people and our condemnation of them. Where did we go so wrong, our second greatest commandment was to love others as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). This may sound critical but if you are using your faith to always be critical and judgemental of others, you must be pretty unhappy with your life. Judgement is not loving. Judgement is not your job so don’t use it as the basis of your faith. It grates me because it is so easy to pull other Christian believers into judgemental ways and they think it is the norm, that is definitely not what their faith should be rooted in.
One parable that I think we can learn a lot from is ‘The parable of the gold coins’(Luke19:11-27). In which a master gives 10 or his servants a cold coin each. Then he goes off for a few years with the command ‘See what you can earn with this while I am gone’. It goes on to say how faithful the servants were with his coin, one servant due to his faithfulness was able to take charge of ten cities. As for the last servant ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it in my handkerchief… you take what is not yours and reap what you did not sow’. The actions of the servant results in him losing everything. I think many of us can fall into the same trap as the unfaithful servant, we have been blessed with these passions and talents to use. It is up to us to use them in whatever avenues we have, regardless of if it goes against the norm. We have to stop being too scared to do stuff because it is out of traditional boundaries, we need not to become like the unfaithful servant and rather be prosperous with what we have. Be a blessing to others and allow what you have to grow into something far bigger then it ever began.
Let’s just be real…
At the end of the day we are human, we are not this perfect being because we have a faith. When I first became a Christian I believed that I had to sit and read my bible, pray constantly, shun everything that was not Christian and only listen to Christian music. My 15 year old self would sit and read her bible 3 times a day would try and shun everything not Christian. Let’s just say this did not last long because I felt like I had to do it, to me it was a duty and I just could not keep up to that standard. Now in my early 20’s I do still read my bible and pray. You can normally find me with and up to date Christian album but that is not all I am about. What I have learnt over the past few years is that faith is my relationship with Jesus, that is what grows and develops me. It is what has led me down many different paths and has led me to become who I am now. I am a girl who loves drinking overly sweet coffee. I like listening to bands like All Time Low, Paramore and Mayday Parade. Who likes a night out spent down the pub. I devour books, love talking to people and I normally dress in black. Although some Christians may look down on some of the decisions I have made in my life and some of these views have been voiced. I am not ashamed of who I am and it does not make me any less a Christian, it is all about learning and making mistakes but then learning to grow as a person. I use opportunities to spread love and kindness. I always try to accept people for who they are and have learnt that judgment makes you a bitter person. Therefore, I try not to let it have an impact on my life.
At the end of the day it is just about growing in our faith and growing up as people. In a few years’ time some of things that appeal to me will have lost its appeal but I do pray that my faith won’t. That each day I would grow more and more in my love for Jesus and for people. I have learnt especially over my years at uni that people have many different perspectives on what the Christian faith is meant to look like. You can learn new perspectives from them. However, having so many different views leads to fights and a lot of judgement. The Christian community is a big one and we all have our passions and different ways of ministering to people. It is remembering that someone else’s faith cannot be your own, going back to the parable. The unfaithful servant could not hide behind the success of the others.
Keep Jesus at the centre of all that you do in your job, social life and even in your other passions. Remembering that your life has purpose and over the years that purpose will change but keep striving to be the best you possibly can be. Don’t let the judgement of others effect you to where it stops you living with the purpose that you have been born with. Allow Jesus and your faith to guide you not the judgements of others.