Tag: atheist

God, But I Got Questions…

God, But I Got Questions…

“Because I said so.”

This phrase must be in every parent’s handbook that they say doesn’t come with having a child (mhmm). Parents always say having a child doesn’t come with a handbook! Then why are all of y’all using the same phrase?! Hmm? How Sway? How?! I got questions.

Many parents have this comeback on lock (see urban dictionary) if their child asks a question they don’t want to answer for a number of reasons. It’s supposed to be the end-all, be-all. You aren’t supposed to ask any more questions. Otherwise, you risk being seen as disrespectful or rebellious.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us have believed God deals with us.

I can’t speak for everyone. However, many of us have not experienced an environment in which our doubts, fears, or insecurities are welcomed to be expressed; especially our about God.

We’re judged (by others or ourselves) for having questions. We’re afraid that having doubts about God proves something is wrong with us or God is angry with us; when actually, having doubts proves you’re human. This does not mean we intentionally live in our doubt, but we need to be honest about them.

Thankfully, when I was growing up, I had a safe place in which to express my doubts and converse about them without judgement. My various youth pastors all played a major role in encouraging me to engage the Bible and supposed truths about God. If you’re a believer (minister or not), be a safe place for people to express their questions and doubts. Listening to them does not mean you agree with them. There’s nothing quite like knowing you’re being listened to that makes you feel (and know) like you matter. Don’t be so focused on making them believe what they’re doubting that you forget to help them feel heard.

Sometimes, many of us are nervous to listen to a person express their doubts about God because we’re afraid we won’t have answers. Can I help you real quick? It’s okay if you don’t know everything. It’s okay to say, “I don’t know. Let me get back to you.” or “I’ve wondered that too. Let me think and pray about that.” or “I don’t know.” It doesn’t make you any less holy or saved for not knowing exactly what to say. In fact, it may be an opportunity for you to receive some understanding about questions you’ve had or currently have.

One reason many of us are afraid to have doubts is because we think God will be angry. However, God’s response to our doubts is never what we think it will be. God’s response to any of our fear or doubt is not anger, but grace. It’s love. It’s understanding. Psalm 103:2, 8, 10, 13-14 says,

Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all His benefits; The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He does not treat us as our sins deserve, or repay us according to our iniquities. As a Father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear (revere) Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.

The reason God responds with love is because He is always aware of the fact that “we are dust.” In other words, God knows you’re human. God can respond with grace and love because He IS love. (1 John 4:7-21)

Love (God) isn’t waiting for you to be perfect or have it all together to love you. He loves you fully knowing your mess ups, your doubts, fears, and questions. This leads me to my next point.

You cannot disappoint God. Sometimes, we feel like we’ve disappointed God because we’ve been walking with God for so long but still have questions from time to time. Listen. You can’t disappoint someone who knows what to expect from you at any and all moments. So, not only do your questions not come as a surprise, but God already has the answer prepared for you specifically.

As someone who has a history of doubting, questioning, and debating the reality of God; I have some executive level experience.

I remember when I came to the realization, “I don’t have to believe in God.” It’s a choice. This was so pivotal because it started me on a journey to owning my faith not because “so-and-so said so,” but because I believed. I don’t mean you shouldn’t believe in God; I’m saying I realized for the first time, it was my choice whether or not I would believe. God prepared an answer that resolved my conflicted heart. It didn’t happen right away; but God was faithful to answer the specific question(s) in my heart which caused me to believe again.

If I’m honest, I still deal with questions and what ifs. Now, I’m not afraid to admit I have my doubts. Even if the doubt isn’t resolved right away, it’s liberating to identify it. Additionally, having dealt with these questions and frustrations has put me in the position to have transforming conversations with believers and unbelievers. For this, I’m grateful. It has also revealed more of the nature and character of God to me.

Furthermore, you can’t truly seek God without questions. “Who,” “what,” “when,” “where,” “why,” and “how” are all valid questions in pursuing God. “‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:13-14).

When you begin searching for something, you ask a variety of questions that help you get closer to finding what you’re looking for. It’s the same with God. So don’t be discouraged by your doubting. Ask the questions. God will answer.

Be honest. Be transparent. God will meet you where you’re at.

 

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

Religion, generally defined, is a specific set of beliefs and practices concerning purpose for life and deals with the idea of a supreme being or the lack thereof and its (or theirs) relation with humanity. You can examine any major or minor religion against this general definition and you’d find they line up in some fashion. Today, I’m specifically examining Christianity and its “religioners (did I just invent a word).”

There are so many traditions and fads of the Christian faith by which Christians measure the sanctity of one’s lifestyle. Does he go to church? Does he raise his hands in worship? Does she carry her Bible? Does she dress up for church? (People really consider this) The list goes onnnnnn.

We don’t simply verify one’s ‘holiness’ by what they do (go to church, carry Bible, say they’re a Christian, etc), but by what they DON’T do. “He doesn’t smoke,” “She doesn’t curse,” “We’re not as bad as so-and-so,” and many others are common phrases we hear Christianers using to justify one’s “Christian” lifestyle.

The Problem With Religion

The issue with “Christianers” is our tendency to deal with the outer appearance and oftentimes this solely. Our adherence to the specific rules and regulations of the Christian faith allow us to APPEAR holy before man.

Additionally, the struggle for Christianers is this tendency to try to Christianize the world instead of evangelize it (Matt. 28:19-20). We are so sensitive and uncomfortable around anything that’s not “Christian-like.” I’d venture to say we don’t often differentiate between what is “God-like” and “Christian-like.” This is a sad thing.

What’s so wrong with being a Christian(er)?

A “Christianer” (I’m making words up left and right) is one who believes Christianity is the Way.

Well, Darveiye I thought Christianity is the true religion, the right religion, God’s religion. Are you saying you believe Jesus isn’t the way?

No. I am not.

What I am saying is God did not create religion. Man created religion. It is the way by which we can comprehend and measure faith-based things in real time. God did NOT come to earth in flesh as Jesus so He could establish the TRUE religion. Jesus didn’t die so you could pick up a religion and wear it like a badge of honor. Jesus died so that the kingdom of heaven could be established in the hearts of man (Luke 17:20-21)! The kingdom of heaven is the RULE and REIGN of God. Jesus died that the very culture INSIDE of us would transform and return back to what God originally intended! This is why religion DOESN’T work! It focuses on how you can look holy, and “do” holy, and not BE holy ( 2 Cor. 5:21). It’s like putting flowers on a coffin. At the end of the day, the body is still dead even if the casket looks beautiful.

The truth is, the reason we are so attached to the words Christian and Christianity is because we don’t understand why God came or what He did. We don’t know because we don’t seek Him and would rather measure holiness, purity, truth against other seekers and not the one who ORIGINATED it. Simply: we measure our righteousness against the righteousness of other “Christians.” The problem with this is I never truly have a full picture of another’s righteousness. Therefore, they are not a worthy or accurate standard by which to measure my life. Thankfully, I’ve been given THE standard of TRUTH by which to measure my life. Hint: Jesus.

There’s no need to compare my works to my sister at the end of the pew when I’ve been given Christ by which to measure my heart AND therefore my works. Humans are not holy apart from God. So why use a flawed individual to determine how holy or NOT holy you are? It’s a moot cause.

If people are my only standard for holiness, I’m in trouble. Let’s take it a step further. If I am the only standard for holiness, I am in a WORLD of trouble. If all I can meditate on is how much more holy I am than others and how “if only they could live like me,” I’m in for a rude awakening. My sole ministry is to reconcile people to God (2 Cor. 5:11-21), not people to me. My life should witness unto who Jesus is (Acts 1:8). I am a deflector and reflector. I cannot be this if I don’t spend time learning and knowing who this Jesus is.

Remember, God didn’t send Jesus to give you the “right” religion, but that you could “become the righteousness of God in Him(Christ).” Holiness is not about what people see you do, what they think you are, but who God has said that you are and will be. You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ JESUS!

Scriptures to Study:

2 Corinthian 5:21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Luke 17:20-21

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[a]For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading and are encouraged by this post!

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Thank you for reading!

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