Have you noticed that some religious people have their list of sins that they love to hate? Alot of people in the church seem to believe that the worst sins you can commit are sexual. You notice that there are ‘accountability groups’ for men to fight temptation in some churches. But there don’t seem to be any groups to help people fight gossip. Hmm…….. What isthaq about? Or, If you are homosexual you won’t be welcome in many Evangelical churches. So it’s OK to exclude gays, but not exclude gluttons? There seems to be something that comes with being religious that once a people join as church, then other people are the sinners and church people are the righteous ones.
The issue isn’t about faith. It’s about social norms. When people join in a group, the group exerts a power in their behavior and attitudes. So people fit in with what is accepted behavior. That’s religion. But faith is something personal…. it takes place in your heart, and is between you and God. There’s much more room for honesty in your heart. You can confess your sins to God and not risk rejection from religious people. You can ask for his help and you don’t have to look down on anyone else because you don’t have to look good. God already accepts you.
I don’t know about you, but I am a follower of Jesus. Jesus said that he came to offer people a full life, a place of acceptance with God, forgiveness. It seems like alot of church people are concentrating so much on living up to ‘biblical principles’ of right and wrong that they forget the main point Jesus taught: You really can’t get it right. You can only ask to be forgiven. The church is supposed to be a place where it’s safe to let down your guard and be accepted as a sinner. But for many church folks, as soon as they start going to church, they forget that it’s about forgiveness. You feel so much pressure to act right that you can’t really talk about what isn’t, and you sure can’t bring up anything about sexual stuff.
Do you think maybe people are so focused on sexual sins because they themselves are preoccupied with sexual stuff? Maybe it’s because of the social norms that make it so ‘bad’ to sin sexually that they can’t bring up their real feelings and real struggles, with sex or anything else. They then focus so much energy on other ‘bad’ people and avoid really dealing with their own imperfections. Wouldn’t it be something if we could actually be authentic and not have to hide what we struggle with. It would be more about a journey of faith and less about religion. It would be more healthy spiritually and more healthy psychologically