Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Happy Medium

No, this blog post isn't about a fortune teller that found true happiness, sorry to disappoint.......... ;-)

The happy medium I am talking about is Christianity. Oh I know, we shouldn't be "medium Christians" - that isn't what I am talking about. I am talking about something different entirely.

I grew up in a very conservative church, and still attend. We believe a lot differently from most churches. We believe that you can "fall from grace", that once you become a Christian that yes, your sins are forgiven - your past sins, not future. That the Bible has some definite principles for modesty and differences between men and women. Stuff like that. Do I agree with everything my church teaches and believes? No. But neither do I agree with everything other churches I have run across.

I grew up believing too much in a performance based religion, and to be honest, that has me pretty screwed up. More than church did it. I was picked on and bullied so much growing up that somewhere along the line I started believing no one liked me, loved me, that I was worthless and inferior. I never remember taking a conscious step to think that if no one else liked me or wanted me, then God didn't either, but at some point that became part of my ideology.

I believed that people only liked me if I did certain things, acted in certain ways. Had I liked and been good at sports, the other kids at school would have accepted me and liked me. That was later reinforced the year soccer and I clicked. I was good with my feet and excelled at soccer. They wanted me on my team. But alas, that was later in high school after the damage had already been done.

I believed the guys in my family didn't like me or love me because I had no interest in hunting, like all of the other males in my family. I loved to read, and that didn't fit into what they wanted out of a cousin, a son. I started withdrawing into myself more, began feeling more inferior. I'd try to serve God, but even as a teen I was already messed up. I was looking for bells and whistles when I went to the altar. They never came, so I never could believe I was a Christian. So I would give it up.

Then college came. I was picked on more, but thankfully not to the extent that I had been in school, but it did nothing to help my emotions and self image.

At the age of 21, something happened inwardly, that changed the rest of my life. I began a lifelong struggle with a besetting sin. I felt from day one that I was doomed. There was no way I could go to Heaven. It just snowballed. As the days and years ticked by,my views of God became more skewed and wrong. I struggled to believe He loved me. And that grew worse.

There were times  my secret sin threatened to completely destroy me and swallow me up. I'd go through cycles. I would repent and try to serve God. The conviction and despair would become too great. Yet, serving a God who I couldn't believe loved me was too difficult for me to keep it up very long.

People have asked me why I want to serve a God I cannot believe loves me. There are a few reasons. In spite of everything, there has always been a desire to do right. Also, of course I want to go to Heaven, and one cannot do that without serving God. And the conviction. At times it was overwhelming, yet I wonder if I prayed just enough to get relief, or did God actually come into my heart. And so often over the years, I was scared into going to the altar with scary stories told during altar calls.

I grew to believe that God was just waiting for me to fall, so He could throw me out. st

There are Christians who would say as long as I truly became a Christian at one point in my life, that my eternity is secure. That we all sin daily in word, thought and deed. I disagree. For one thing, sin is sin - so are they ok with a murderer or rapist sinning their sin every day and saying they are a Christian?

But is there a happy medium? Between a Christian being able to sin as much as he wants and go to Heaven, and feeling God is going to toss  you aside if you mess up?

From what I know of the Bible, Christians don't sin. We call people sinners who sin. I cannot find where the Bible supports the idea of "once you're in, you're in." I've heard all of the pro-arguments and think they are extremely weak. I also can't find the judgmental, hateful God who I see who doesn't love me because I fail and have failed so much.

I realize life and my experiences have affected my view of God, but why does He seem to not care about changing those beliefs?

I've read and heard people say that God proved His love on Calvary, and He doesn't need to prove it again, but what about someone like me who struggles so much with believing that.

I believe God will forgive if I mess up, if I fall, but how can I believe He loves me no matter what I do?

I need to find that happy medium. Between the belief that a Christian can sin, eternal security - and believing God is standing by just waiting for me to mess up.


Kimmy said...

If Christians didn't sin, we'd be perfect, and there is only one perfect. The difference between sinners and Christians is that Christians don't want to sin, and repent when we do.

Our goal is to live sinless and as Christians, it's what we should strive for, but it's nothing we can obtain. There is a huge difference between committing sin and practicing sin. Christians don't practice sin, but we are capable of committing it. But forgiveness is readily available when we ask. If a person practices sin, then yes they can fall away from God.

Annette said...

I can't answer all of your questions. Even if I tried if would take up too much on the little comment box.
We are saved and only saved by grace, there is not anything that we could ever do to be good enough to enter salvation. Even the best person is only as good as the other person you could compare them to, but then compare them to a sinless Holy God, there is no comparison.
I honestly don't think about or dwell on what if I sin and mess up, because I know I will, because that is the consequence of living in a human frail body.
My focus is on Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of my faith. I talk to Him off and on all day and night, I read His Word nearly everyday, I memorize Scripture. And I ask His Spirit to search my heart to see if there is anything that needs to be brought forward in forgiveness....most of all because I don't want anything to stand in the way of He and I in our relationship. Jesus is the most important in my life, I don't take another step without Him.

Honey said...

Grace and mercy, my friend. We are saved by His grace. We are not perfect, and never will be. But by His grace and mercy to us, we are able to say, "I messed up", and He is willing to forgive us if we repent. If you go on sinning, you will fall away, but you are still saved. That is where our Christian friends come in. The Bible tells us that if one falls away, his friend should gently remind him of his faith and bring him back into the fold. Ultimately, yes, we have to make the decision to live our lives in the way God desires us to. He doesn't expect perfection, but devotion and loyalty to Him and to our faith.
As for those who murder, and commit terrible (to us) sins, they are eventually going to be caught, and punished for those things. That is something they will have to deal with, but it doesn't mean that they can't be saved or forgiven, but they still have to pay for their crime.
We who are saved are still going to sin. I believe that a sin is a sin. Whether you are a murderer or a thief, or if you have anger against someone else. God will still forgive us if we are sincere in our repentance.
Praise God that He sees us through the blood of Jesus Christ, who paid the ultimate price to cover our sins....not so we COULD sin, but so that we could be forgiven when we do.