All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
Religion or Relationship PT.1
I don't like the word "religion". I use it simply because everyone on earth has a "religion" of some kind: Catholics and Jehovah's Witnesses believe in working your way into Heaven; Mormons believe that when a man dies, if he was good enough, he becomes god of his own planet; Muslims believe in killing all infidels (non-Muslims); Jews are waiting for their Messiah; Hindus believe in multiple gods; Atheists either believe in no God or that every one has their own way to "heaven". With all these (and many more) "religions", which one is correct?
The answer? None. Now I'll tell you WHY I don't like the word religion: Religion is man working their way to God/Paradise/Heaven/their-personal-planet-where-they-will-be-gods/or simply-being-a-"good-person". I don't believe in any of that. That is why I'm not religious. I don't believe I have to work my way to God; I don't believe in "Paradise"; I don't believe in working your way to Heaven; I don't believe that men will become gods on their own planet; And I don't believe in "good people". That's why I'm not religious.
Many of you are probably sitting out there, scoffing. Because if anyone has read any of my articles or poems, you must know I'm a Christian. You're probably also thinking "Hypocrite." You have a right to think that, but please, keep reading.
I'm not religious and don't believe in religion. But I am a Christian. Most people don't understand the difference. Most Christians, even, will say their "religion" is Christianity, but that's wrong. Christianity, today, has been perverted. When you think Christians, you think "fanatic" (thank you, I am); you think "religious"; you think "hypocrite", because of what you see on tv or hear on the radio. You see preachers on tv, practically begging you to hand over you're wallet; You see self-proclaimed "Christians" like Miley Cyrus, who claim God and Jesus' name at an awards show, but then will turn around and wear raunchy clothing and have dancers swinging around poles in her music videos.
But what is Christianity, really? When I was six, I was confused, but then again six years olds get confused about a lot of stuff. I kept asking my mom, how do I become a Christian? She kept telling me the same thing: open your heart to Jesus. Now as a little kid, I took her literally. I would think of my heart as a door, and open it. But every time I turned over in my sleep, I thought the door closed and Jesus would never come into my life. After a few weeks of this, my mom sat me down and read me a Chick Track (a Gospel track laid out like a comic book) called "This Was Your Life".
It was about a man, let's call him "Dave", who led a great life. He did everything you could think of that would make him be considered a "good person" (what he did is left up to your imagination). But he dies. At his funeral, the pastor comments on what a great man he was; People cry and, probably, sing "Amazing Grace". Dave thinks that, he's dead, it's over, now it's time for an eternal nap. But he's wrong. The moment he dies, an angel comes to get him. He's completely confused about what's happening. He believed it was over and now, where the heck is he going?
He's going to Judgment Day. See the moment any one dies, they immediately go to meet God. The real God, God Almighty. And at Judgment Day, every person's worst nightmare becomes a reality: Every single second of your life will be reviewed (Matt. 12:36b "...every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment"). From the time you entered the world, till your last breath, it will be seen by you, God, His angels and every other human that is with you. Dave is horrified. What will people see? What did he do? He can't remember everything.....until the video starts. Then he remembers every bad word, every lie, every dirty joke, every time he swore he hated Such-and-Such and every time he ever lusted after those blond beauty's. He remembers it all.
Have you ever told a lie? Just one? If you answered no, you just told your second lie. Every single person who has ever lived, has told a lie, a fib, a little white lie or has twisted the truth. If someone lied to you, what would you call them? I'd call them a liar. How many lies do you have to tell to be a liar? The answer is one. Exo. 20:16a "Thou shalt not bear false witness..."
Have you, guys, ever looked at a girl and thought something dirty? If you haven't, you're either blind or gay. And if you are gay, have you ever looked at a guy and thought something dirty? And vice-versa for girls. We've all done it, so there's no point in trying to fool yourself or anyone else. Did you know that God considers looking with lust or desire at a woman or man is the same as being an adulterer? Matt. 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
Have you ever stole anything? I don't mean robbing a bank, I mean just taking a piece of candy without asking. That's stealing. Lev. 19:11 "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely..."
Have you ever killed anyone? Let's hope you all answered no. But did you know, God considers thinking that you hate someone to be the same as murdering them? That means that if you've ever told or thought you hated someone, you killed them in your heart. Have you? I know I have. Matt. 5:22b "...I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment:"
That is just four out of the ten commandments. And if you were honest, you would have admitted to being a lieing, adulterous, thieving murderer. If you stood before a judge having that rap sheet, what would you tell him? Would you tell him how many times you gave to charity? Or how about how many times you rescued shelter dogs or saved trees or recycled or, possibly, biting your tongue instead of biting somebody's head off?
Dave tries the same thing. He notices that there is a scene from his life that shows him in church. He looks at God and says "See? I'm in church! I was a good person!"
But what do you think that judge would say if you listed all the good things you did throughout your life, even though you were a lieing, adulterous, thieving murderer? Do you think that he would say, "Ah! It's only four things. And, hey, look at all the GOOD stuff you've done. You know what, you're free to go." If he was a good judge, he would never release you of your debt of murder/stealing/lieing/or adultery. You would have to pay the penalty, no matter how many "good deeds" or "works" you had done.
And that is exactly the same with God. God is a Judge. And at this moment in time, He is judging Dave. Dave had been a "good person". Imagine all the "good deeds" he had done. I mean, for goodness sake, HE WENT TO CHURCH!!! Obviously, he'd be going to Heaven. But the ending to this story may surprise you.
When you meet God, you'll notice He has a book. It's called the Lamb's (Jesus) Book of Life, and in it, you'll find the name of every Christian that has ever been and that ever will be. Dave's name is no where to be found.
Why is that? He was a good person. He never took a shotgun and killed someone. He never robbed a bank. He never had an affair. Why would his name NOT be in the Book?
Here's the reason: It all goes back to that day when he was in church. While his mind focused on the football game that would have started in just a few moments, the pastor was preaching. He preached to his congregation about what I just told you about. He talked about hate being murder and lust being adultery, but he also explained what those things are. They are sin. Sin is a word most people don't like using today. They're afraid of offending people by telling them they are sinners. But I'm going to be honest and I'm sorry if I offend you, but it's the truth. You just admitted, whether to me, yourself or someone else, while reading this, that you are a lieing, adulterous, thieving murderer. Lieing is a sin; Adultery is a sin; Stealing is a sin; Murder is a sin. Every person has broken at least one of the ten commandments at least once in their life time, whether you've taken the name of the Lord in vain (yes, saying "Oh, my god" is a sin Exo. 20:7 "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."); you've worshiped false idols (whether worshiping a false god or simply staying home from church so you can watch the football game or not getting saved because you don't want to quit -insert activity here-, those things are false idols. Exo 20:4a,5a "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness...Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them"); you've disrespected your parents (I know I have, and I also know that every other teen, no matter how good, you have disrespected your parents too, whether to their face or in your head, it's disrespect. Exo 20:12a "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land...") or you've put other things before God (that goes right back to the whole false idols thing. Exo 20:3 "Thou shalt have no other gods before me."), you've sinned.
God is holy. No. He doesn't have a bunch of holes in Him or looks like Swiss cheese. Holy means perfect. He has never sinned. And because He's holy, He can't be around sin. I was once asked, why, if God created us sinners, would He allow us to be punished for being how He created us? Here's the answer, and it's quite simple: God DIDN'T create us sinners. He created us perfect and holy, just like Himself. When He first created humans, God walked and talked and interacted with them. But when Adam and Eve (the first people God created) disobeyed the only rule God gave to them, they sinned. God told them that they could eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden, except one: The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Gen 2:16-17 "And the LORD God commanded the man, saying,...the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die (spiritually they died immediately, and they were no longer earthly immortal)." And they didn't.....until Satan showed up.
Now, before I continue, I'd like to destroy an image you've probably created in your mind already: you're thinking Satan/the Devil, a red monster with horns and a tail and a pitchfork, possibly a cigar in his mouth, breathing fire. Scratch that. That is nothing like Satan. Satan, before he was thrown out of Heaven, was God's most beautiful angel. 2Cor. 11:14 "Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light." He was called Lucifer. Imagine the most handsome man you can think of and up it by like a thousand and there you have Lucifer. But sometime after Creation, Lucifer became jealous of God. HE wanted to be on the throne. HE wanted to be higher than God. HE wanted to BE God. And because of his jealousy, he was thrown out of Heaven and into the atmosphere (the reason he is called "the Prince of the Air", Eph 2:2).
And he still wanted to be God. So, he thought the only way to do that was to turn humanity against God. So he convinced Eve, and then Adam, to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and instantly cut off all their access to God (Gen. 3). They had sinned and God, being holy, could no longer commune with them.
(To Be Continued...-Religion or Relationship PT.2)