I've become convinced that many in the Church have made the Gospel much more difficult than it actually is. In other words, churches elevate traditions to something equal with Scripture. Oh, they would never admit to doing it. But ask someone in the Church what it means to be saved and check me on this. More than likely, their response will be something other than "Love God and Love others." If they respond with that phrase, they might be on to something. After all, when questioned by the legalists of the day, Jesus' response was as simple as "Love God and love others." The Gospel of John points out that Jesus was going to show his followers "the full extent of his love", just prior to serving them by washing their feet.
Recently, I had a conversation with someone who was struggling with their faith. Their objection to God wasn't to be found. However, this person had "issues" with the Church - specifically people who claim to belong to the Church. Let me share with you a few things this person said to me. "Church is all about rules. I can't smoke. I can't drink. I can't dance. I can't have fun. I can't...I can't...I can't...It's like the Church is the moral police."
The more I've thought about her words and although they're perhaps a bit over-generalized, I think her words carry some weight. Why is it that we tell those searching for God to conform to our ways (and not His)? Why is it that we think we have it all figured out and no one else does? Why is it that the Church is always right (or at least we think we are)? Why is it that we turn souls away from God by acting the way we do from time to time?
The message Jesus brought was pretty simple really. Notice I didn't say living up to the messsage was simple. I said the message itself is easy to understand. When those in the Church make the Gospel more about morality, rules, and regulations, we miss the message altogether. The irony is we condemn the Pharisees for their attitudes and then we're quick to establish some rules. Maybe it's time for a return to simplicity.
What do you think?
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