When I left the religion called Christianity 3 years ago, it wasn’t out of pain, or rebellion. It was more out of frustration and the desire to follow Jesus. Sure I didn’t realize I was leaving Christianity (the religion) because I had always thought that all we needed was to change the way we practiced it, improve it, change those who lead it, or apply some New Testament principal that will revive it. Instead what I realized was that the root problem was far deeper. The problem was the tree.
(Hang in there if that last sentence didn’t make sense). In the Garden of Eden were two trees, the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” and the “Tree of Life”. What I was realizing is that all religions including the one I called Christianity, could be traced back to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. You see I had never paid any attention to the good part of that tree, I just assumed it stood for all things evil, and yet what I was not seeing was that my Christianity (my own attempts at getting closer to God) my good actions were part of the same rotten tree.
Now many, including myself, didn’t see what was so wrong with attempting to get closer to God, I mean my motives were good, how could this ever be a bad thing? However is this not what Paul talks about in the first part of Galations 3? Even the good of that tree is evil.
When I was really honest with myself I knew that while I could win most bible debates, or justify my actions and prove my beliefs from the Bible, I was not as loving as I had hoped I would be. This question was like a wooden stake to my zombie heart. Why wasn’t I more loving when I was so right about everything? (I bet all my friends are laughing, or at least those who used to call me friend)
I found a friend in the Apostle Paul who went around killing everyone because he was so right (Religion always fights about who is right), he was doing God’s work, in God’s name! However when Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and Jesus didn’t exact revenge, I can only imagine how his love must have shattered Paul. I imagine the Bright Sadness of Jesus enveloping Paul as he asks “Why are you persecuting Me?” and Paul being broken by Jesus love.
For me, today, when Jesus invites me to another tree, the cross, the Tree of Life, I want to choose to pick it up and follow him, I imagine leaving Jerusalem where I used to practice my religion, practised being right, and I follow the call to die to being right, so that I might see how loved I am by Jesus, and that I might love this world, enemy or friend, right or wrong, the same way that Jesus loves me.
So this is where I am at in my relationship and something Jesus has been highlighting for me again. I would love to hear from you about your journey.