I was doing my daily surfing where I check my bank accounts, check my e-mails, read my favorite blogs, and check in on my friends “my space” spots, read the news, check the weather, and of course read my favorite comic strip, (For Better or For Worse, if you are interested) and am ready to start my day.
As I was re-reading a friends blog, she referred to a time in her life when she was involved in Christian Cult. I found this interesting, because I was there right along with her, and I don’t remember thinking of it as a cult, during, or after. I saw it as one man who had completely misunderstood God’s calling on his life, and the misdirection it took in so many other people’s lives as well. I guess you could call that a cult.
But the word “cult” seems so strong-definitely something to be feared, avoided.
I learned a lot during those years. The Bible training was intense I will admit, but I came away with a much deeper knowledge and understanding of Scripture than I had ever had in my life, and I had been “raised” in the church. I learned what God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were NOT. God is not a bully with a ball bat ready to smash us when we screw up, and Jesus is coming again to take us to live with him because he LOVES us, not just because he wants to judge us. The Holy Spirit is not to be feared. He is a “comforter, helper in times of trouble”, and he will be present with us until Jesus returns.
I learned about Grace, something that wasn’t practiced readily in that particular church setting, as most of the people in that particular church at that particular time were searching for discipline and structure, and the leadership was more than happy to give it to them.
As I sit in the church we attend now, I am struck by the differences. Grace is preached, love is practiced, and forgiveness is administered; not perfectly, but attempted. All with the hope that these things will encourage and inspire the recipients’ to WANT to live a life where they will be hungry for the word of God, where they will seek to be more like Jesus all the time, and to be receptive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings.
We are not perfect, I wouldn’t be there if we were, but we are trying. We fail continually, that is where grace comes in, but we keep trying. That is what it is all about.
I am not a denominationalist, so I won’t mention the church we attend, as I truly believe the Holy Spirit can manifest your faith through your life in any church setting as long as you are open. I believe that if you love the Lord, you will continue to attend a house of worship for the fellowship, encouragement, and motivation to keep at it, and to help you realize that we are all on the same road, headed the same direction, but are at different stages in our journey, thus, the opportunity to lend a helping hand, or grasp one that is extended to you.
I am reminded of the line “Christians aren’t perfect, just forgiven”. I have forgiven the people involved in that part of my life, and moved on, because I know God is greater than anything or anyone that may come across my path, so I just keep travelin’ on.