My mouth has gotten me into trouble for as long as I can recollect. Although I got good grades in elementary school, at report card time I always had that infamous "U" for unsatisfactory looming around the little check box for talking too much. Apparently this habit has followed me through into adulthood and lingered about in my writing career.
Recently, I wrote a piece titled, "The Gay Marriage Debate: A Christian Sinner's Insight." In it, I expressed my opinion about radical Christians and religious organizations that feel the need to get involved in the issues surrounding gay marriage. Apparently, I did not take into account how much of my words could be misconstrued. So, I would like to take this opportunity to clear up any doubts about what I was trying to say. I would like to point out that I do not take back anything I said. I just want to clarify.
When someone "joins a religion" they are taking on all that the leaders of that religious organization believe to be true. They take these leaders to be experts in their knowledge of the Bible. Unfortunately, many religious organizations have taken it upon themselves to "re-write" the Word of God. Things are taken out of context, out of reference and even made up all together.
Sadly, this practice has turned a lot of people away from God, when, in fact, it isn't God who is the problem. The problem is people misusing a leadership role in an effort to push forth their own personal convictions and not necessarily what true Christianity is all about. I do not consider true Christianity to be a religion. It is a spiritual relationship with Christ. The Bible is our guidebook and should not be used a tool to make others feel unworthy and unloved.
I stated that I was a Born Again Christian while still working in the sex industry. I believe with all my heart that because I was Born Again, I allowed what is commonly referred to as "the sanctification process" to begin. Although I was still living a life that was not God's best for me, I allowed him to begin working on my heart to move forward and past those things that were holding me down. Having survived sexual, physical and mental abuse in my early childhood, I used the sex industry as a coping mechanism and Christ knew this. The sins of others can often affect our own lives, in turn distorting our decision making and reasoning processes. Few could argue that point.
Many pastors, preachers and bishops proclaim that the moment you dedicate or rededicate your life to Christ (i.e. being Born Again), you will become a new creation, your life changes and you have a new view of the world around you. I agree. However, not all of us are "radically saved," in the sense that we need time to learn to trust this new relationship we have with God. Many of us have been hurt a lot. Some have been hurt by people proclaiming to be Christians.
When we make the decision as adults to be baptized in water, it is then we fully commit to let go of our old life. It is then we allow ourselves to begin healing. We are proclaiming that we trust in God to wash away those things that bind us to our past. That's not say we won't sin but, we're ready to listen to the guidance God wants to give us. I believe that as we journey though the sanctification process, God begins to heal those psychological traumas and wounds that lead us into sin in the first place. For those of us who have allowed the damage to consume our entire lives, it is a process to untangle ourselves.
God is awesome and wonderful, an omnipotent being capable of more than our human minds can imagine. Humans, however, can be limited by our own perceived inadequacies and hang ups. For many of us, like me, the sanctification process is arduous. It can take a long time to fully trust God and let go of everything they know in an effort to start again. As I said in my previous posting, I still curse. I have spent a lifetime in an industry where the "F" word filled the role of adjective, noun and verb. That's a hard habit to break. But that doesn't make me any less "holy." It means I am still growing. It also means that I often turn to Christ for guidance and a better way of speech. It means I am humbled.
Our job as Christians is to love one another and allow God to work on our hearts as He sees fit and in His own time. I don't glorify sin. But I do feel that more people will begin their own path to sanctification if they feel loved and not condemned by every mistake they make -- big or small. Allow God to fight the big battles. Let's just focus on allowing each and every person the opportunity to begin their own personal walk with God. The goal is to empower, not to tear down before the building even begins.