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Practicing My Faith

I love Jesus. I love Jesus enough to offend even the most ardent Christian. Jesus is not just my savior, He’s my best friend and don’t you hate that cliché? I do. But, because He’s my best buddy, I talk to him in the most familiar, raunchy, awful ways. I am so honest with God that sometimes I amazed that lightning doesn’t strike me. And, it doesn’t. You know why? God is good.

I can’t say that about myself, but I have this deal with God. I don’t pretend that I can hide things from Him, and He doesn’t strike me with the plague. This works to my favor. What this practice looks like is that when I get angry at God, and I do, I let Him have it. It’s my worship.

Does that make me a good Christian? Absolutely not!

I am a horrible Christian. I cannot do church, and it would appear that church doesn’t want me, either. After numerous tries, I just can’t fit into that culture. I have tried all the flavors and I’m like barbeque sauce at an ice cream social. You may love barbeque sauce, but not on your Rocky Road, Butter Pecan, or Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

But, Jesus and me, we’re tight. It’s not a good trade for Him, but it is awesome for me. I have exchanged mainstream worship, which I miss by the way, for a reality that makes me excited about my life. I tell God the truth without decorating it with fancy words. In return, He kindly tells me the truth. It is awesome.

I find that I get along extraordinarily well with humanists, atheists, and new age types. I tell folks straight out like I’m telling you, I love Jesus. They’re okay with it. I think the reason may be that I have embraced the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave us. One, love God with all that you are. That’s my favorite. It’s easy, if you allow yourself to be authentic with Him. The second one is not fun or easy, but it creates simplicity: Love people, all people.

Love people, eh? All people? Really? I’m still looking for loopholes. Here’s one, it does not say that I must like everyone. There, that’s a relief. However, I have to be careful because dislike moves to disdain, and that becomes hatred in a matter of course, if unchecked. I’m not allowed to hate, dang it! No exceptions. For your information, there is no clause about ex-husbands, either.

I don’t buy into the “love the sinner, hate the sin” way of thinking, either. Love the sinner, hate the sin is a personification of “hate the sin.” I have been that beloved sinner whose sin was hated. It’s the same as being a hated sinner. Trust me on this one.

So, what does one do with awful people? They exist; the child molesters, murderers, thieves. I am required to love them. The worst for me are the gossipers, how do I love people who insidiously destroy my life for the job of disclosing juicy morsels of half-truths?

Where does that kind of love come from, the kind that loves despicable people? Well, it’s not springing up spontaneously from my soul, that’s for sure. It is God’s job to provide that level of love however, and I hold Him to it. I cannot possibly have love for people who do evil things. But, He does and He shares that love with me. His grace is sufficient and overflowing: I access it.

I don’t access it all the time. I often access too little of it. But, I’m working on it. It is how I practice my faith, not performing it, practicing.

(Image by Flickr User Quinn Dombrowski)