Back in elementary school, Perry was the kid who tucked in his shirt the full 360 degrees. So far down that if he wasn’t wearing long pants, his shirt might stick out the bottom of his shorts. Every mirror that had the misfortune of reflecting his perfectly proportioned face had to sustain the image as he licked his eyebrows into prim-and-proper position. Because he couldn’t just follow every rule in ultimate innocence, he had to look pretty doing it too.
If “Goody Two-Shoe” needed a model, they wouldn’t need applications to fill the role. They would need to apply to be worthy enough to hire Perry.
We all knew a Perry in elementary school.
Today, Perry looks a lot like some Christians we know. Sundays-best even when it’s not Sunday, as close to sinless as it gets when you’re looking, scared of getting infected by your unholiness, Christians. Metal is from the devil, no homos in heaven, curse words make you go to H-E-double hockey sticks, Christians.
Both Perry and the super-Christian have something in common: they TRY to NOT do the wrong thing. And it’s selfish.
If we boil this down to the layers underneath the surface, they want to avoid shame. They’re afraid that if they mess up, others will perceive them differently. A way they don’t want to be perceived. One that embarrasses them. They care about preserving their public perception–how others see them.
Let’s face it: being liked by others makes ALL of us feel good. It tells us that we’re good enough for that person to like me. It tells us that it’s possible for us to be loved. And just like you and me, they want to feel that too. And so underneath it all, trying to not sin is about them trying to make themselves feel good. In this situation, sin is just the moral code they follow in order to be accepted. It doesn’t really have much to do with God.
And as ridiculous as this extreme category of people might seem, we all have a piece of this in us. We dress a certain way, hang around certain people, do certain things, DON’T do certain things so that we will be accepted and loved.
Now, this doesn’t mean we’re all horrible people. It also doesn’t mean that we should just say screw it, have orgies, stuff our veins with any substance that feels good, and party till we die. I’m not saying either of those things. In fact, I think that Perry’s discipline was admirable. And I think that the super-Christians have self-control we could all benefit from. What I’m really saying is that it’s most important to look at your heart. Why do you do what you do?
I believe in the same Bible that these people do. But I don’t want to live my life trying to NOT sin. Just like you, I want to have fun! I want to adventure! Experience! Live life to the FULLEST!
And strangely enough, that’s why I obey.
Let me explain…
Pulling back the layers again, obedience is about respect. It’s saying even when I want to do anything else besides what you’re asking me to do, I won’t do it. Because I choose to believe that you know more than I do. I choose to believe that you care more about me than even I do. I choose to believe that you have my best interests in mind even when I only have temporal ones. I choose to believe that you WANT me to have life to the fullest. And because of these things, I trust you. I respect you. And I choose to obey you. And for me, the person I choose to obey is God.
It might seem like semantics, but it reflects something deeper about our intentions and our heart.
For the non-Christian, I think it’s important for you to understand that this is where a lot of the Christians that turn you off get stuck in wrong thinking. Their intentions and their heart are in the wrong place because they’ve been trained to believe that God is more about policing our sin and bashing us with batons until we behave or break. So when the Christians that believe their God is doing this to them do it to you, I totally get why you would say screw that Christianity crap…if I have the option to not be bullied by some punk, uniform-wearing higher being and his idiotic lackies, I’ll take that as opposed to having some cosmic police brutality be forced on me.
But the thing is, the God that we believe in at HeartSupport isn’t some corrupt, religious mafia-policeman. We believe that if you were to share everything–every sin, every wrong, every thought–God wouldn’t cuff you. He would instead listen intently. He would hurt and cry with you as you explain all of the terrible things that have happened to you. The things that brought you to a place where it was easier to hurt others than to trust that they wouldn’t do that to you again. He would smile and nod with you as you explain the excuses that sound so silly when you say them out loud. He would thank you for your honesty and hug you before He chose to say another word. Because His desire is to love you–not punish you for what you did or didn’t do.
And when he pulled back from hugging you, I think He would smile and say something like this…
“I know. Everything you told Me, I already know. Even before you did, I know. But son, daughter, did you know that you don’t owe Me anything? I already paid for all of that because more than anything I just want you back. And if you believe Me, none of that has to keep you from Me.”
THIS God wants YOU. He even wants the religious person that is stuck thinking that not sinning is the most important thing to Him.
Christians, you know that guy Jesus? Well, He got rid of your sin. You’re free from the burden of performance. Instead of trying harder to look like you’ve got it all figured out, you get to enjoy His love. Learn to trust that He wants nothing but the best for you. He means it when He promises you something. And He says He came to give you life to the FULLEST–abundant life. Better than you can find anywhere else. Here. Now. You don’t have to wait for heaven to have an awesome life. Because of this, He is worthy to obey. Stop wasting your life hiding out, spraying yourself with “Sin OFF” to repel the possibility of looking like a sinner cause you got bit. That doesn’t sound like life to the fullest at all. God gets joy when your life freakin’ rocks. And He wants to help you have a kick-ass life.
So ask yourself: are you trying to NOT sin or trying to look perfect so everyone else thinks you’re awesome? Because if you are, you’re missing out on life to the fullest. There’s so much more for you. Be bold enough to find out.