Know that you are worthy. Let that be enough.
Now think, where is this person in their own life that they must tell others of their unworthiness? Often times we want to bite back at comments like this, get snarky and smart and throw it in their face. We want to march in protest against the Westboro Baptist Church, against those who try to disallow things like gay marriage, and we want to trample the ones who seek to trample us. But remember, not long ago, all of these people were once children. And their innocence was ruined by the very same behavior they are now showing you. And if we allow ourselves to perpetuate this type of behavior then we are digging not only our own graves but also the graves of our brothers and sisters.
Now stop saying you are unworthy because that's what you've been taught. Stop it right now. Cut out all this original sin nonsense and this self inflicted emotional trauma because your Religion dictates you should feel as such. If you obey and listen to the words of another human who interprets God's word for you simply because they say they are your pastor or preacher, then why not do the same for mine? Why not do the same for your own instincts? They tell you God loves you but that you are unworthy. But I tell you that God loves you and they you ARE worthy. We are being born and bred into a society in which we are supposed to understand and believe that, from that day we are born, we are sinners. We are to believe that our souls are inherently impure and imperfect. But what is more perfect than an infant? More perfect than the innocence of a child? Nothing.
I grew up in a church. I still go whenever I visit home. And every once in a while I find myself at a new one in a new place. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. And despite my letting go of the dogmatic specifics that surround a lot of these different places I still consider myself a Christian because I believe the words of Jesus are still relevant and true and purposefully non-specific. Any time someone quotes the Bible in order to justify hatred or exclusion, it never comes from the mouth of Christ. It's always a passage written by a man from thousands of years ago from the perspective of what it was like to be a man living thousands of years ago. And people cling to these strands of "logic" steadfastly in order to rule their fellow man. But no one group holds firm to all of them. It's always a mish-mash of picking and choosing that which services your man made organization. Some people think homosexuality is an abomination. Some think women have no place speaking out in the church. Some think you shouldn't get tattoos. Some think you shouldn't eat pork. And these are just the tip of the iceberg.
Flash facts! Here are some things Jesus never talked about:
- Women not speaking in church
- Eating Bacon
- Playing too much Call of Duty
That last one was a joke. But to most of you, all of this is a big joke. It's silly that so many people live under the rule of an age old book seemingly irrelevant in a modern age. And to be perfectly honest, a lot of it is. A lot of that "rule" stuff seems wildly inappropriate today. So much so that if Jesus were to come back and take issue with any church today it'd likely be with Christian churches. For starters, Jesus was devoutly Jewish and didn't plan on starting a Religion in the way we think of it. He was not "the first Christian". He was a Jew who wanted to change the world and bring people closer to God and to one another through Love. He didn't want to establish a hierarchy of rulers and leaders who lord over servants and congregants. He didn't want people being forced into giving up their money, in fact the only giving worth doing is that which comes from the heart. He didn't want people being excluded or cast out or turned away because they didn't fit the make and model of a WASP society. Contrary to popular belief, he didn't look like this. In fact he likely looked more like this.
He spent his time with prostitutes and tax collectors, the homeless, the sinners, and what most Church goers today would consider "the wretched". He spent his time with the people who were not allowed in church because of how society perceived them. It's a shame how nothing changes. He wanted everyone to know what it was like to be loved, not hated; to be accepted, not cast out. He was a man with a simple plan, not a complicated one. If you wanted to eat milk and meat together, God bless you. But if you wanted to refuse someone their ability to love and be loved, then his problem was with you, not with the "sinners" that you labeled as such.
A lot of people would take issue with my ease at which I feel I can "speak for Jesus". I'm certainly not him. But neither has been any other human being since nor ever will be. So what makes this Christian's ability to speak for him any more or less valid than those who do the same by swearing "God hates fags"? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. The Pope, though a good man, is still just a man. Pastors and preachers and elders and deacons, the crazy and the sane, they are all men. (And too often none of them are women.) And though many are spiritual and well read and deserving of praise, they are still human beings. They are not God. They are not Christ. Therefore any interpretation presented to you by ANY Religion should always be taken with a grain of salt. And I think that was something Jesus wanted us to understand.
"People honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. They worship me in vain, teaching the precepts and principles of men." - Matthew 5:9
Your relationship with God is unique and special and it should always be that way. People will try to cull you to their herd in order to utilize a mob mentality to exclude the ones they dislike and/or disagree with. That's what people do. It's what animals do. But if you believe you are worth more than being merely an animal, then you stand apart from these savages. You rise up above Religion because Religion is something created by animals, not by the divine. The divine has created one thing and one thing alone for you to follow and obey; Love.
We are not born into sin. But that is what men would like you to believe. This is how they train and indoctrinate you into their group mentality. This is how they control you. That because you are born a sinner, born unworthy, that you must live the rest of your life in constant confession, that salvation is something you should seek every time you open your eyes in the morning.
Though it is not wrong to seek to right your wrongs in life and to find forgiveness for your transgressions, it is wrong to be taught your entire life that your very existence itself is wrong, that your soul has been flawed since the day you were born. I reject that belief and I urge everyone to do the same because God wants you to know just how perfect you really are. You are worthy of his love. You are special and unique and talented and real and capable of so much more than blind submission to the laws of mankind. You are a fighter and a dreamer and a child at heart because you are a child of God. Toss specifics out the window because God is, in his essence, the very idea of what is non-specific. There is no one way in which to find God's love. I think a lot of misinterpreted Jesus' words when he says, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
Jesus calls himself the way, the truth, and the life. But remember that he does not represent the specific laws of man, that as a man Jesus is different. When he speaks as "the way, the truth, and the life" he is speaking for God, he is directly telling us what God believes and from the place in which his intentions come from. The way, the truth, and the life has nothing to do with church dogma and everything to do with love.
Rather than ten commandments, than the strict rules and laws of the land created by men in order to rule their fellow man, Jesus gives only two commandments. And they couldn't be simpler. "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments." - Matthew 22:37-40
ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS HANG ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS! In case you missed it the first time.
Jesus says, essentially, anything you read or see or do or interpret from the Bible means absolutely nothing unless you are doing them from a place of love. Any words of law or commandment, or the words of any prophet or teacher, politician or master are utterly worthless if they are not following the most important commandment. Love. And you are no fool, you know what love feels like. It is not dark or sinister, it does not seek to segregate or shame or put down or ruin, it seeks to accept and welcome, to save, to hold, and to cherish. If, for a second, you think that what someone is telling you from a place of "authority" is not coming from this perfect place, then smile and nod and tell them, "Thank you" and take their "laws" with a grain of sand.
Look what has happened to these people who have been raised to believe that they are not worthy of God's love. They are treating others not with love with with judgment and, often, with hatred. Hate is not in God's vocabulary and neither is it in Jesus'. Most things people try to tell you God stands for are things that break his heart. God is love. And if he is love then by his very own nature he stands against all things that seek to dim that light.
We are taught from birth that we ought to believe in God, but one thing we are never taught, that is so much more appropriate, is that God believes in us. Before you can put your faith in someone else, someone must have put their faith in you. Before you can believe in God, he must have believed in you; in all that you can do, all that you are capable of and worthy of. Because you are capable. You are worthy. And you should feel joy in your belief in God, not fear, because he believes in you. I promise you, he does. But don't just take my word for it, look around you. He is showing you at every moment of every day how much he does. He already believes in you, all you've got to do is open your eyes and believe in yourself.