The Destructive Habit Christians Buy Into…and how it’s ruining us

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God designed the church to be a great source of encouragement, edification and building each other up for His glory. But lately I have noticed a nasty trend of denying grace and promoting works and self, sadly, even within Christian circles. It’s breaking people apart…physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

For me, I think it all started in a Christian Mom’s Group, where a debate on some hot parenting topic got out of hand. Where opinions became dogma and “because God convicted me to do something, YOU must do the same regardless of what God has told you to do.”

The discussion elevated into condemning judgment from both sides, and at the end of the day, a divided group went back to their homes, more determined than ever to prove their side of the argument, even if they had to break relationships to do so. Grace was dead that day, as each person sought to make their own personal experiences the sole bringer of truth for everyone else.

In the book of John, after Jesus describes the death Peter would eventually face, Peter asks Jesus “What of him?” pointing to the apostle John. I can see Jesus looking at Peter, his God-light eyes full of love for this headstrong fisherman. He replied with a truth that transcends the ages: “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

Such a simple truth that could transform our lives and bring us more joy and peace! What is it to you if people make different decisions on topics the Bible has no specific commands about? What is it to you if someone breastfeeds or doesn’t? Vaccinates or doesn’t? Cloth diapers or doesn’t? What is it to you if a mom down the street doesn’t want to homeschool, feeds her kids Goldfish and non-organic apples, gets an epidural, and is done after 2 kids when you want 12?

What is that to you? Are you following what God has put on your heart? That’s great. Maybe she is too. And maybe…just maybe…what God has convicted her to do is completely different from His plan for you. As for you, follow me.

The Bible commands us not to be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world. The world criticizes, judges, breaks down, and condemns.

The same thing I saw in that mom’s group, and the same thing I see whenever someone brings up one of those touchy topics I mentioned earlier, even (especially) among Christians.

The same thing I felt when, after diagnosed with an endocrine issue that made breastfeeding an absolute nightmare, I chose to bottle feed. The decision came after my husband and I prayed about it and I felt God’s peace to give up nursing so I could better care for my baby. But, even after sharing the peace I was given, I was reprimanded more than once for “poisoning” my child. It broke me and sent me reeling. I felt abandoned by the very people who were supposed to be lifting me up and encouraging me.

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to have opinions. No, very much the opposite. Strong opinions keep us firm in our convictions and allow us to stand up for our faith. Ialso believe that debate can be healthy when voiced in a respectful and responsible way. But we get ourselves into trouble when our opinions become the only truth.

God put us all on different paths, on different roads. He gave us all different experiences that mold and shape us into the people we eventually become. Among subjects where there are no specific Biblical commands, it’s up to each person and each family to figure out what God wants of them. And only them. A map of California, while having the same universal legend and cardinal directions as any other map, isn’t going to do much good in New York. No. You’ll get hopelessly lost trying to use someone else’s road map for your own God-ordained path.

What is that to you? As for you, follow me.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some spilled Goldfish to clean up before we leave for church.

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