Hating What I Love?
In my first official post ever (52 weeks ago today!) I made an argument of why religion is not as bad a thing as some people today make it seem. It seems fitting that on my one year anniversary with this blog I discuss the topic again!
Perhaps you have seen the video going around the web, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus by Jefferson Bethke, but, if not, go watch it now. It has caused quite a stir, especially between the liturgical sections of Christianity (Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, etcetera) and Evangelicals of various stripes.
I have found some great, balanced responses online, particularly from Richard who has covered it from top to bottom. He also shared a video from Make a Friar (find both videos here), and honestly it is quite amazing. (Even Jefferson Bethke totally dug the video!)
I have also seen people on both sides (and other sides, such as atheist and other faiths) attacking each other by calling names and questioning character and salvation.
To those people, I give a hearty GROW UP!
To everyone, I think it is time for a reminder.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
As some on the blogosphere have said, Jesus was also about religion. Consider His words: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (Matthew 5:17) As a refresher, the only religion Jesus hated is what we now call “legalism“. Religion itself is not wrong, it just how people implement it.
Clearly (oh, yes, I said “Clearly”), Jesus does not hate religion, and there are certain things He expects of us. As listed above, some of those things are to care for others in need. He also calls for us to keep ourselves from being polluted by the world.
What does this mean?
We should look back at what Jesus said: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)
Now, Jesus did call some people names (such as “snakes”, “brood of vipers”, and even “Satan” … poor Simon Peter), but He was revealing their true nature or intentions for what they were: not godly.
When we do it, especially in circumstances such as over this video, it is nothing but childish name-calling and wickedness. When we do it, we are acting like the very people whom Jesus scolded. When we do it, we are being “religious” in the way Jefferson Bethke hates … the way Jesus hates.
When we do it, we are pushing our hate on Jesus.
It is okay to hate “religion” and love religion. It is not okay to hate each other. When we act this way, remember Jesus’ other words:
“I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
This is a little out of context, but hear me out. The things we do or do not do to and for people is done or not done to Jesus …