The more I read the bible, the more I question everything.
I think that's the point, though, right? The written word of God should make us question the messages we hear on the daily.
The written word of God is there to point us to the truth. And, in society, many people are warning us about the false teachers, the prosperity pastors, the wolves in sheep's clothing.
Sure, there are some obvious ones we should be mindful of, but even if they are pointing people to God in some capacity, isn't that a win?
I'm thinking about new believers, people who have either professed a belief that Jesus is their Savior or even those who have fallen away and renewed their faith. Do they need hellfire and brimstone right out of the gate? Isn't it okay to give unbelievers hope that their lives will be better when they turn themselves over to God?
Consider children entering their school years. Parents puff up the good and the excitement to get their children to accept school. A child goes into school for the first time scared but focusing on the great friends they're going to make, the teachers that are going to make their minds blossom, the fun on the playground during recess, and the feeling of being independent. That all sounds great, doesn't it? It's the message the child needs to feel good about walking into that school. It's the hope they need in their hearts that everything they've been told is real.
And for the first few weeks, perhaps that's their experience. And then, they get a taste of bullying, and maybe that teacher embarrasses them in front of the class, and maybe they get pushed down at recess, and maybe the day becomes filled with wanting nothing more than the safety of their home.
For the most part, the hope they were given is enough to help them navigate the not-so-great moments of school. They trust that their parents have not put them in a situation they cannot handle. They know they will develop the skills necessary to succeed.
Isn't that a lot like the Christian faith? Just because we're given hope, and we've put our trust in God doesn't mean we won't have trouble along the way. But when we were being discipled, no one led with the trouble we'd encounter. They led with the message of hope and the goodness of God.
Now, flip the script. What if our parents prepared us for school by telling us that when we go, other kids will make fun of us and tell lies about us, our teacher might make us feel bad in front of our friends, someone might punch us in the face on the playground, and we'll be tested and we will fail and it's our responsibility to do better. But we should want to go anyway, and we should feel good about that.
When we were discipled, no one told us that when we choose to walk with Christ, we'd be ridiculed, we'd still have trouble, we'd have to atone for our sins, and we'd be held to a different standard than everyone else. Choosing a life with Christ means we'll be mocked, the Savior we love so dearly will be torn down in every way imaginable by unbelievers, we'll be called delusional and accused of being in a cult, and we'll feel terrified to talk about Him in public. Those things aren't the lead because we'd never get people to accept Christ that way.
I've seen articles and social media posts where many famous Christian figures, pastors, speakers are flagged as false teachers because they only focus on prosperity or hope or the goodness of God. And that's bad because they haven't been responsible for sharing the wrath of God and the consequence of sin.
New believers often don't know of false prophets and prosperity pastors. So, if those people, with their big, loud platforms can bring people to God, shouldn't we then trust God to take it from there and provide each person with the path He created for them? Once a person meets Jesus, they naturally begin learning and reading the bible, which helps them understand the full responsibility of being a Christian.
Nothing on this side of Heaven is perfect. Not even our faith is perfect, no matter how well we believe we follow God's word.
Rather than spending time trashing those we disagree with, let's spend time praying for those who come to know God through them as they mature in their relationship with Jesus.
Complaining about them fixes nothing.
Outside of standing outside those mega-church doors or monitoring the books being bought or buying pop-up ads before anyone follows the "wrong" leaders, praying for and loving others is the only practical thing we can do.