I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt by people and now you’re mad at the church or at God.
I’m sorry that someone who said she was a Christian was unkind to you because of what you wore to church or because you smoked or had tattoos or because of your past or who your parents were or who you married.
I’m sorry that a Christian did something to you and now you don’t like Christians.
Unfortunately, we’re just flawed people trying to share the perfect message of God’s Good News. Trying to pass it on to others like He told us to. We’re gonna screw up. It’s gonna go wrong and get messy.
But the other morning while I was studying Matthew Chapter 9, God gave me a message. First it was for me, and then I had to share it with you!
God desires compassion more than ritual (Matthew 9:13).
This is how He wants His people to treat others.
But it goes both ways, in a sense. Our ability to show compassion grows from a strong relationship with Him because God is compassionate. We don’t know how to love others unless we have learned to love Him. We won’t know how to love Him unless we’ve built a relationship with Him in prayer and in reading His Word.
God wants a relationship with us rather than for us to be religious. God wants us to have relationships with other people rather than being religious in front of them. The latter will definitely drive them away from us and will probably drive them away from God. The former should draw them to us and, in turn, to God.
I imagine that’s what happened to you, and I’m sorry that you experienced someone who was more about religion than a relationship.
The MacArthur Study Bible commentary on Matthew 9:13 explains that religious people focus on “the outward, ritual, and ceremonial aspects of God’s law” but ignore the parts that were meant to show us how to live the way God would have us to live and the parts of the law that focus on our hearts. When we focus on the ritual and ignore relationships, we become “harsh, judgemental, and self-righteously scornful of others.”
Does that remind you of an experience you’ve had with someone else?
Does it remind you of you?
When I read this commentary, I cried. I knew this was me. God let me see how I am perceived through someone else’s eyes when I forget the compassion of God and only focus on the commands of God.
It is a blessing for our compassionate God to let us see ourselves through the eyes of others – even, or maybe especially, if what we see isn’t pretty.
So, I’m sorry if you’ve been hurt by people and now you’re mad at God.
But, consider this: people screw up, even if they had good intentions at the beginning. Rather than turn your back on God because of the way someone represented Him to you, why not go find out about Him for yourself?
Talk to Him.
Ask Him to show you the truth about Himself and how He wants you to live.
Read about Him in the Bible – start in the Gospels. I’m reading Matthew right now, and like I said, 9:13 is what inspired this post.
Ask Him to send a Christian into your life who isn’t religious – someone who truly knows Him and is living for Him.
He’ll hear you. He’ll answer you, and it’ll be beyond anything you could have imagined.