Get off the J-Horse

May 26, 2010
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Ever hear the phrase, “Get off your high horse?”

It’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason: it rings frightfully true in all parts of life. A lot of people in society are sitting atop the Great Horse of Perfected Morality, looking down at those dirty denizens in the mud. Liberals look down on conservatives for “being socially backwards”, conservatives look down on liberals as “drugged out hippies trying to play Jesus and Robin Hood”, atheists look down on believers and believers look down on atheists. Agnostics get looked down on by everyone. Currently, I’m looking down on everyone looking down on everyone else.

I could wax on about high horses for this life and for my next two lives. But I’ve particularly taken offense at one group of high horse riders: holier-than-thou Christians.

No, I am not some anti-religious pundit firing off at Christianity. I have some Jesus cred (Christian version of street cred) myself. I have been a Catholic my entire life, although I find myself in an interdenominational vacuum, drifting gradually over to Protestant leanings. Something that has been eating at me for a long time now has not been anti-Christians, but rather some Christians who speak badly for everyone else.

Let’s make a quick and imperfect analogy. Just because Lindsay Lohan happens to be perennially in rehab or drunk in clubs, doesn’t mean all redhead actresses are drug abusers. But those actresses don’t get any attention from the media, but Lindsay does. Likewise, offensive evangelicals like the Westboro group seem to hog all the spotlight while decent Christians are lucky to get an afterthought on television.

While the Westboro group makes for an excellent article, I’m not going to address them right now. I’m going to address some other Christians, who may not be as openly offensive as Westboro, who think it fit to tell others that “they are condemned to hell.” I see them all over the place and have had a few unexpected confrontations with some of them, despite being a fellow Christian myself. For the record, Catholics are Christians, just a different denomination.

Whether your church’s beliefs dictate that homosexuality is wrong, divorce is wrong, or whatnot, it’s not in your place at all to tell someone that they are going to hell. Even if your life is spotless of sin, by telling someone you will pray for their souls in hell, you have just drenched your own soul in the thick of sin. Why?

Bottom line: you don’t decide who goes to hell and who doesn’t. God does. By telling people they are definitely destined for hell and no but’s or what’s or coconuts, you are playing the role of God. That is one of the deepest sins you can commit, at least in my opinion. Granted, the grand majority of us may need to do some spiritual housecleaning, and some of us better just throw all the skeletons out of our closet and start anew. Even if we don’t manage to do our housecleaning in this life, there is no saying there is not a possibility for redemption in the afterlife. If God’s mercy can conquer death, he can most definitely conquer someone’s sins.

While hell is always a possibility, for everyone, it is not in a Christian’s place to decide that. If you feel like someone is falling by the wayside, don’t just snub your nose, spur your high horse and say, “I’ll pray for you while you’re rotting on Satan’s lap, sinner!” Instead, lead by example, by leading the way Christ intended us to: live to serve others. That’s how we are inspired, that’s how we will inspire others.

Jesus didn’t win followers by condemning them to hell, we won’t either. So get off the Jesus-horse (the J-Horse) all ready and be humble: the meek shall inherit the earth. Notice I said MEEK not MIGHTY MEGAPHONES. So, Man on the Corner, get your megaphone away from my ear and embody the faith you claim to adhere to so steadfastly. No one’s perfect, but you can start by stop pretending to be.

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sunnyhunny This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 15, 2010 at 7:34 pm
Wow I could not agree with you more!  On every part of this.  I'm getting very sick of judgement and steryotypes in general, but I especially don't believe that people have the right to judge other people on wether they are going to heaven or hell.  This practice reminds me of the Puritans.  Cotton Mather said "children be afraid of going prayerless to bed, lest the devil be your bedfellow".  I find this judgement a sin in itself.  You did a great job with th... (more »)
Jane_P This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jun. 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm
Thank you very much for your insightful comment! I can't stand them either, and I think they speak badly for Christians. I have to agree with you that judgment is terrible. Let's ignore those people who would rather judge and hate, :) and live and love instead.
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