I’ve been reading a lot of social media posts lately about people being against Jesus and against religion as if they’re the same thing. I believe there’s a misunderstanding about who Jesus is and what religion is all about. To say that religion and Jesus are the same is a gross misunderstanding of reality and a complete missing of the point of both!
Religion at its core is the way a group of people express and live out what they believe. Religions can have as their focus a person, a group, a possession or piece of property or a teaching. Not all religions are the same. So we can’t just lump them all in the same bucket! We put religion in the same bucket as the object of our religious experience or time.
Religions are basically, and very simplistically, a system of rules and boundaries. The religious experience is just that an experience! But Jesus isn’t an experience. Jesus isn’t just a teaching or a collection of words. Jesus was a man. A real flesh and blood man. He walked. He talked. He taught in the temple. But he wasn’t just a teaching. He was the complete existence of all that God is put in one place.
Now the problem we have in our world is that the visible portion of Jesus we get today is that it’s localized not in a perfect Jesus, but in the church which is a collection of imperfect people! We get things wrong. We don’t react to situations rightly. We’re slow to do the good we should. We through around good thoughts and moral platitudes when action is needed. You see Jesus was more than just a collection of words, but that’s what the church does all too often – just talk!
Jesus was love in action. He fed the poor. He clothed the naked. He healed the sick. He visited the lonely. He was there when people were in crisis. He didn’t just say kind words or wish them well. He did something!
So if you have a problem with the way the church does things. Don’t throw Jesus out because the church gets it wrong. That’s like throwing a parent in jail because their child cheated on a test. Your problem isn’t Jesus. It’s the church. So be patient with us. We’re not perfect. We don’t claim to be! (At least the ones that know better don’t claim to be perfect!) If we’re showing you a life that doesn’t look right, then ask us. Don’t accuse us. And by all means don’t throw Jesus out because we’re messed up! He didn’t hurt you, he was hurt for you! You’re not offended by Jesus. You’re offended by religion, but honestly so was Jesus! The problem you see is the church and for that I’m sorry! We’re not perfect and any of us that claim to be are lying. So give Jesus a chance to heal what we’ve broken. The problem isn’t Jesus!