While I grew up I saw all these different perspectives and definitions of what Christianity is. I saw people declaring with their words that Jesus is their savior, but then turned around and lived these lives that went against it on so many levels. I went to churches that stood more for their doctrine and tradition than for the life of Jesus and what it means for those who believe in Him.
When I started my theology studies in 2014, during the first week everyone had to stand up and share something about themselves and say from which denomination they were. I honestly never knew there were so many denominations. I didn’t even know what the denomination of the church I went to was. I didn’t even know what this word “denomination” meant, but who I did know was Jesus and I thought that was all that mattered. I believe that Christianity is not defined by what church you attend, but by the life of Jesus Christ that changes lives.
I’ve approached people on the street sharing the Gospel with them, but afterwards I felt in my heart that I would’ve been more effective if I just showed interest in their lives, asking them how they were and actually meaning it, and telling them how much God loves them. I have realized that the reality of heaven and hell isn’t enough to make people follow Christ. Knowing that hell awaits us if we don’t believe in Jesus is not enough to make us believe in Jesus. I have chosen to sin so many times with the thought of Jesus on the cross in my head and I felt so bad about it afterwards, but as humans we make really stupid decisions sometimes. The real part of Christianity that I believe actually causes people to turn from their ways is not knowing that if you don’t believe in Christ you will go to hell, but rather that even if you never choose to follow Christ, His love for you will never change, even if you consciously sin, even if your past is full of shame and even if you can’t guarantee a pure future. His love for you is constant and unconditional.
I don’t ever think we’ll be able to really understand this love of God for us, but I am sure that if we seek Him we will start to get just a glimpse of the big picture and we will have no choice than to throw down all our stuff, all our excuses and all our reasons why He could never love us and just accept the fact that He actually accepts us just as we are and follow Him. For love covers a multitude of sins.
If I could isolate one aspect of Jesus’ life that I really love, except everything else, it would be the way in which He ignored all social, cultural, religious, racial and gender barriers. He disregarded all norms of society just to talk to the outcast. Just to influence their hearts and to show them that He cares about them. Even though Jesus knew how perfect He was, without a hint of sin, He still went out to those living in shame. Sometimes we feel so righteous that we cannot seem to see the need in others. All we see are the mistakes people have made. Real Christianity breaks every barrier just to touch the heart of another, just to show interest in someone else for who they are and not the choices they have made. I think that nothing gives us a greater heart to help others than having a good understanding of the scandalous grace of God for us.
We will never be able to show people the love of God if we highlight their mistakes, even if it’s just as a thought in our heads. One thing we can be certain of is that everyone has sin, everyone makes mistakes and everyone has fallen short of God’s standard. So why do we feel better than other people just because they sin differently than us? But everyone is offered the love of God, His forgiveness and His grace. The same price paid to save me was paid to save someone else. We are all equally bad and so we must go out and focus on how equally loved we are by the Father and not how different our sins are through the eyes of the world.
For real Christianity focuses on loving others, and when they don’t love back, even if they will never love back, we keep on loving others. For that is what Christ did for us. Real Christianity changes lives, just like Jesus changed ours.