Thursday, July 28, 2011

Rules or Relationship?

You know I grew up going to church. I didn't always get it, but I didn't have a choice. So I went. I participated in junior choir and VBS and Sunday School classes. I learned that Jesus was loving and kind and a friend.

When I became pregnant, my mother and grandmother started quoting Scripture verses to me from the Bible. They called me names like "whore" and "bitch". They told me how no God could ever love someone like me. They used the Bible as a weapon to put me down and beat me up.

Ouch. That really hurt. A lot. And for a long time. In fact I had a visceral response to even typing those names. I don't honestly think I've ever told anyone the ugly truth about those days. My grandmom had my mom so fired up. So full of righteous indignation. My grandmom, the former preacher's wife, the woman who studied the Bible in her spare time just because she loved it so much.

My mom and grandmom were right on some level. They were right that I had broken the rules. I had gone against the Bible's teaching. I had gone against the teaching of the church.

But they were wrong to judge me. That wasn't their job. God didn't give us the Ten Commandments so we can judge each other. Think of how boring that would be! We all fall short. There is no one on this earth who can keep all of those rules except for Jesus. He's the only one who lived perfectly. The rest of us don't stand a chance.

At that time, my mom chose to hide behind the rules instead of reaching out to me in relationship. I guess it was just easier for her. She sided with her mother and her righteous indignation instead of comforting her daughter who was scared, desperate, and alone. 

The reason God gave us rules in the first place was to show us our need for Jesus. He is all about relationship. He lives in constant relationship with himself. Have you ever thought of it that way? God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are each individual parts that are perfectly fulfilled in relationship. God did not come to this earth to bring us a rule-based religion. He came here so he could have a relationship with me. With you.

It's easier to sit back and judge than it is to jump into relationships that are often messy, hard, and sometimes hurtful. But we were not created to live alone on an island. We were created to be part of families and communities and churches. Do you choose rules over relationship? I love hearing from you.

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1 comment:

  1. I love this! I was not forced into the church, but my mom was. When it came down to her finding out that I was pregnant, she was in rage. It hurt me, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Through my daughter, my agency, and my adoptive parents, I have learned to stand on my own two feet and to be able to say to people that they cannot hurt me that way. Thank you so much for sharing!