“I don’t need religion. I just need Jesus.”
Have you heard or said that before? Wait.. I’ve got another one..
“Love the sinner, hate the sin.”
I HATE when people say this. It dehumanizes me. Oh and this one, too:
“Everything happens for a reason.”
I am most certainly writing this piece with a load of trauma on my shoulders. Perhaps I hate these phrases because I was jaded by the evangelical world or maybe, just maybe.. they are absolutely, positively nonsensical.
and hear me out — I am not trying to control the way you define your own expression of faith. I’m not you and I’m certainly not God, but I want to express the importance of the narratives we perpetuate within our faith traditions — especially since we (universally as humans) rarely step back to analyze the things we believe, the way we behave, and the influence (bad or good) that we have on others.
Perhaps we need to be fundamentalists about this subject — and no, I don’t mean the fundamentalists that preach hate and misogyny. I mean going back to the fundamentals of our faith and practice.
How (and where) have we inherited narratives like “no religion, just Jesus” or “Love the sinner, hate the sin?” Are these narratives Biblical? Scriptural?
Do the things we say, justified by faith, harm others? Do they heal others?
Are the narratives we perpetuate based on a core value or deeply inherent religious identity that manifests through who we believe God is? Or are they based on tradition (i.e. mom told me, heard the preacher say it, saw it on Facebook, read it out of the Bible with no context)?
Are the narratives we perpetuate convenient for us? Comfortable?
Let me give you a couple examples..
Wouldn’t it cause great harm to tell a mother that “everything happens for a reason” when she just lost her daughter after being hit by a drunk driver?
Don’t you think our faith would be incomplete in some way if we didn’t have religion, but “just Jesus?” I mean, the early Church pieced together what we now call the Holy Bible. If it weren’t for religion, we wouldn’t know Jesus.
The things we say are so deeply important. I challenge you to examine yourself on this journey of faith (or any other aspect of life) in how the things you say via muscle memory may just be causing harm and spreading complete nonsense.
None of us are exempt from saying things we shouldn’t..but all of us are responsible for checking ourselves.
Go be the church, friends.
Do it with care.