Sarah's Friday Blog: I'm Frustrated
I just finished reading two Facebook posts of a friend and fellow believer on the "enneagram" and his attempts to research and justify his belief it in as a useful tool for exactly what it is: personality test. Not a religion, not paganism, not witchcraft… a personality test designed to help individuals find their motivations behind their natural thoughts and actions in order to love and understand others better, and also become a better version of themselves. Read that all again: I’m not seeing traces of a satanic ritual in the making here, or a sneaky scheme of beelzebub himself. If you disagree, that is fine, but hateful comments will get you nowhere within this platform.

Personal side note: This is why I don’t get on Facebook. I keep forgetting that, dang it! Because each time I log in, I remember how us humans, especially that of the spirited American evangelical kind, have such a way of sucking the life, fun, and true intent out of so many things “in the name of the Lord (ahem, religion)” in order to be “lawyers” and “superheroes” for the “gospel!” Of course, by doing so in a hateful, condescending, "holier-than-thou" fashion…because Facebook comments are the new front lines of “spreading God’s love,” right? Yay! Hoorah! Great job! You’ve managed to spread your opinion over the gospel, while convincing spectators that they are “right” about us judgmental, hatefully silly Christian’s after all. Very Pharisee of all of us, really. Shame on us that this is what modern Christian reputation in religion has become.

Ghandi (y’all don’t come at me for that, too) said it best when he said, “I like your Christ, but not your Christianity." Oof. That one stings. Where have we gone so astray, fellow brothers and sisters? Yes, I’m one of you, despite our disagreeances and stances. It’s a strange place to be where I can fully say I’m overjoyed, grateful, humbled and proud to call myself a Christ follower, but embarrassed to call myself a Christian in evangelical America in 2022. Stay with me here: the two are totally different, and that, my friends, is where I think we have missed the mark though generation to generation to end up at the place we have been rightfully labeled the most closed off, judgmental and loudly hateful group in religion.

To explain further, I am realizing more and more as I live and was raised in the Deep South that Christianity is a completely different concept than intended in the Word of God. When you’re raised in the “Bible Belt,” being a Christian is a label that of being the predominant football fan in your area. It’s a badge of pride, and a shawl of safety from pointing fingers and guilt spurred on by the judgment of others. It’s mostly social than spiritual in most cases, being a part of our lives that differ completely from our lives as a whole. This is played out in different actions on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights versus the rest of your week, or just another construct of self identity like “I’m (insert denomination here), a chamber of commerce member, and a part of the PTO!” I realize that I’m generalizing here, but it’s one that’s mostly true.

The Jesus I have come to know never opens up “membership joining” type conversation, rather true life change: repentance, loving others well, loving god, serving, giving, and more. In fact, he was roughest on the “religious people” who, shocker here if you think about dynamics today, thought He was a lunatic, blasphemer, and, well, an enemy. “How dare you heal a blind man on the SABBATH,” excusing the fact that this man literally made a blind man see.

The most “godly” community members at first denied the actual Messiah, until they saw his miraculous works and teachings prove himself to be actually true…Then they were threatened and terrified. Isn’t that also us? We are afraid of change. Afraid of “new.” Afraid of enneagrams and "secular" and Christmas trees and peace signs and being friends with LGBTQ brothers and sisters… the list goes on and on and on until there’s nothing left to celebrate and no one left to hang out with. We are all screwed up and in need of God… and each other! Can we find some compassion on our quick journey through this side of heaven? And God forbid, loosen our tight grip and let our hair down? Don’t get me wrong, I’m striving to “be holy as my Father is holy,” but I don’t think I’m going to hell for being overjoyed about my new flocked Christmas tree (because I celebrate JESUS through that), or finding out more about how God made my heart through a personality test so I can love others better. That’s just me. If it’s not you, that’s okay. Follow your convictions. Just don’t hatefully slap them on others. That’s not Jesus. I think patron saint Taylor Swift put it like this: “shade never made anybody less gay.” We need to stop hating the sinner instead of sin, and trying to do the job of the Holy Spirit, which is to convict. We don't have that kind of power, but we can lovingly introduce our friends, brothers, and sisters to the One who does. 

Back to the Facebook post: I’m not sure if this is a marathon or a sprint type article, but if you’re still reading, thanks for being here, friend.

SO- How can we change this narrative? If the Church that is built on the amazing, grace-filled gospel of Jesus Christ cannot contain themselves from hatefully debating with each other on minor differences of opinion, how can we reach other (yes, because we are, too) sinners with major differences in a loving way? How can we practice Gods grace and forgiveness better amongst our fellow brothers and sisters? How can we encourage our family of faith to not remain in apathy and complacency and not only make god a “part” of our lives, but have him encompass the WHOLE DANG THING and become the very purpose of our very existence. I’m asking these questions because I’m still learning, trying, growing, and genuinely would like to know.

My heart shatters and aches for anyone that’s ever been jaded by someone claiming Christ as their savior. This will inevitably happen on this side of heaven in our sinful condition, but I DO firmly believe that if the life application of the words of Jesus were lived out, it would happen league’s less. THATS THE KEY, and I am convinced that’s what Jesus intended to begin with. Paul calls us Christ’s AMBASSADORS. The MW definition of this word literally states “a person who acts as a representative or promoter of a specified activity.”

Can we all agree to shift from being “lawyers” of Jesus and what we think he would say on certain issues (because we can guess, but we really don’t know) to AMBASSADORS OF JESUS?! That means we REPRESENT and PROMOTE what has already been said by Him that is recorded in the gospels. We don’t have to guess or draw conclusions. It’s written in red for you and for me. Yes, I love debating issues in love (key words: in love), but is Facebook the place? In a hateful or condescending way, never. Me personally, I’d say never, period. Don’t ruin your witness over your desire to be correct and “look” holy. That’d be very Pharisee of you.

Wouldn’t you rather be known for love over hate, openness over being closed off, and grace over judgment? Isn't that what Jesus did?





YES 🙌🏼 Well stated!! Shifting from lawyers to ambassadors….haven’t heard it put that way, so good!

Elizabeth Scruggs

Elizabeth Scruggs

SO good.

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