Growing up, in Sunday School and Youth Group, we were often taught that people should know we are Christians by the way we behave, by the way that we act. That, although we should be witnessing to as many people as we can, they should know before we speak by how we live our lives.
Contrary to what many people believe about me, I have not been a Christian my entire life. Although we began church when I was young (age 5 or 6), and I told my Sunday School teacher I had accepted Jesus , I truly hadn’t. I didn’t believe in him, and I wasn’t too sure about God either. My early experiences with my mother dying had left me with a bad taste in my mouth when it came to this ‘God fellow’, and I wasn’t quite sure if He existed that he was worth following.
When I was ten, I asked Christ into my life for what I truly believed was a sincere time. I thought I believed. I had seen miracles and unexplainable things where the only thing that made sense was God. I was broken, I was hurting, and the promise of someone loving me unconditionally and telling me I was special was alluring, so I did it full force. I’m sure there was a part of me that truly believed, but a big part was still unsure.
I struggled with my belief in God until my first suicide attempt – bouncing between believing He was real and loved me, to not believing in Him at all, to believing He was an awful hate-filled God for allowing me to face what I was facing.
Since then, while I’ve never doubted God’s existence, I’ve had several times where I nearly walked away from my faith out of confusion, disgust, and even heartbreak at much of the hypocrisy I was seeing amongst Christians. I felt like I was living a double life, and like I couldn’t belong as someone who questions everything and has to dig deeper to find out whether it’s true or not. I couldn’t belong as someone who didn’t fit the construction of what the ideal ‘Christian Woman’ was.
It took a long time to get to a point where I was comfortable in my faith; a lot of self-discovery, soul searching, Bible reading, and studying. But once I got there, I was all in.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m not an ‘in-your-face, shove the Bible down your throat’ kind of Christian. My faith is a massive part of my life, and as much as I would love if everyone became a Christian and believe, I also respect the fact that people have a right to believe or not believe. I won’t not share my faith, but I’m also not going to force it around people who I know aren’t interested.
I’ll share my faith – I talk about the fact that I believe things are miracles, blessings, and even when I believe God has directly intervened in my life. I don’t expect anyone else to believe them. My Facebook and Twitter are not solely about my love for God, or sharing Bible verses or Christian thoughts, because that’s not me. While my faith is my life, there are also other interests in my life, and other things that I want to talk about.
But over the last couple of years, I’ve encountered a number of people who seem to think that if I talk about my faith at all, if I bring up God, if I say anything about being a Christian, I’m forcing my faith down their throats and that is too much for them. They’re fine with me being a Christian – so long as I never talk about it.
Typically, these are also people who are vehemently against Christianity – people who spend more of their time bashing Christians online than they do posting about anything else. But every so often, it’s someone who isn’t quite an asshat – who just simply thinks that it’s wrong for me ever to express my faith publicly, because they believe there is so much wrong with Christianity. I’ve even had people unfriend me for so much as posting a single Christian image or article.
There is a LOT wrong with Christianity as a religion. There is a lot of hypocrisy, and it’s not hard to look at situations around the world and realize that there are also a lot of Christians not living as Christians are supposed to live. It can be hard to see the good in Christianity when so much of the bad is what makes the news.
In the past (and even recently), I’ve often hesitated from posting things about my faith because of those reasons and those people. I don’t like making people dislike me, and I hate when someone feels that my beliefs and faith are automatically an attack on them. But as I’ve grown and encountered wonderful people who believe completely the opposite of me, and yet respect my faith and beliefs as a part of me and my life, I’ve slowly begun to learn that people who won’t tolerate that aspect of me don’t need to be a part of my life.
We live in a vastly diverse world, with thousands of different beliefs, religions, faiths and ideas. Expressing any of those things does not mean that you are against anyone choosing their own path. It doesn’t mean you are automatically discounting their beliefs. It does mean it’s a part of who you are – therefore it’s a part of what you talk about, what you live.
I’m not going to apologize for my faith and my beliefs, and I don’t expect you to apologize for yours either . I’m not going to stop from talking about my faith and hiding part of who I am just because someone feels I shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it because they disagree with me.
I am however, open to friendly debate and discussion. I’m open to talking to someone if they feel something has somehow been directed at them or reflects them. I’m open to talking about differences, debating perceived issues – in fact, I welcome that. People learn more when they spend the time to talk with those who believe different things.
So, if you’re going to ask me to avoid talking about my faith ever – there’s this awesome little button on Facebook called unfriend. There’s a little button at the top of your window that allows you to close my blog. You don’t HAVE to read what I have to say. But you don’t have a right to stop me from expressing my faith. Just because I say it, doesn’t mean I expect you to believe or agree with it.
1. At the time, I just got tired of having them asking me if I had accepted Jesus into my heart, and if I was living a life with Him in it, so I said their prayer so they would stop asking.
2. I have no problems with people who do – that’s their choice and there’s nothing wrong with it.
3.Though if they are racist, sexist, intolerant or bigoted, I probably won’t be listening to you much.
4. You in the general sense obviously. The blog readers that I know read my blog are all awesome, and intelligent, and fantastic.