I recently posted the following on my Facebook page because I think it's so cool how science is catching up with what the Bible has said from "the beginning", even going so far as to acknowledge "intelligent design":
An atheist acquaintance, who describes herself as a "freethinker", replied to my post. "Good to see science is progressing - too bad the same can't be said for religion!"
I always try to be careful what I say to her "religious" comments, since I don't want to fuel her fire, but do want to keep the conversation open. Finally I posted this: "Jesus was against religion, too! Down with religion! Up with Love and relationship!" To which she could only "*facepalm*". I like to think she *facepalmed* because I succeeded in stumping her, but I suspect it was more "I can't believe you actually believe this stuff."
But the truth is Jesus hates religion, or at least religious people. In Matthew 23 he calls the religious leaders hypocrites numerous times. In verse 33 he even calls them snakes and sons of vipers! Ouch!
Religion is typically about following a set of rules, but Jesus is about love. It is love that sent him to the cross to make a bridge between mankind (who was separated from God by sin), and a just but kind God. Christ-followers are to share Jesus' love with others so that they too might know him and enter into relationship with him. Unfortunately, there are a lot of religious people in the church, people who are more concerned with regulations than they are with the heart. They forget how much they have been forgiven, how much grace they've been shown, and fail to welcome others with compassion.
Christians should represent Christ and represent him well. We are the only Jesus some people will ever see. I don't know about you, but when I get to heaven and have to account for my deeds on earth, I don't want to be ashamed of how my actions turned others off of Christ instead of on to him. I want to hear "well done, good and faithful servant."
This Easter, let's give thanks for what Christ has done for us, and let's begin anew to live in a way that pleases him. Let's set religion aside, and with repentance seek to extend to others the grace and mercy that we have been shown. The kingdom will be better for it.
For more of my writing, please visit www.susan-barclay.ca