What makes a “good” Christian? Who decides who is worthy of being a “good” or “bad” Christian anyways? Isn’t it only for God to decide?
I am a Christian and I love the Lord. It may not seem like it, between the cursing, screaming, tequila, and trap music, but deep down inside I know God is the King of all Kings, and I pray to enter His gates and walk along side Him one day.
I often feel like some people take advantage of having the label of being a Christian. They use it as a way to put themselves on a pedestal and to tear others down. DO NOT MISINTERPRET WHAT I AM SAYING! There are so many people out there who walk the walk and talk the talk, but there are also those who throw Christianity in peoples’ face, almost as an excuse to be judgmental. It perplexes me because I thought we were here to show God’s love, Grace and mercy to others; to encourage and accept everyone, despite their faults; to spread the Word, but not to use it as ammunition to make one feel unworthy.
“You can go to church every Sunday and still miss God.”
I will never forget when my grandpa told my mom this. I believe there is so much more to being a good Christian than being able to recite every Bible quote and going to church every Sunday. It may help in your daily walk, but it does not make a person anymore closer to God than the next. I often feel like those who judge so intensely are actually deterring people. Especially young people wanting to go to church. You almost feel unsuitable, like you need to already have your life together and be without sin before you step foot in a church, in fear of being judged. What is that about? Let’s not even talk about the people who can recite every story in the Bible, but lead a completely different life outside of church! You know what I’m talking about!
I grew up Catholic.
Enough said, right? Growing up in the Catholic Church, I was the the ultimate devout Christian. I was an usher, a lector, a Liturgical dancer, a youth group participant, a Jr. Daughter of St. Peter Clavier, and I sang in the choir. I made my first communion, I was confirmed, and participated in every major church event. I even spent one summer answering the phones in the rectory. From the outside, it appeared that I was on track to becoming the American Catholic Idol. Haha!
To be quite honest, after all of the years attending church as a youth I can honestly say I was not filled. I absolutely enjoyed the church community and love all of them dearly to this day. They are still my support system and pray for me at the drop of a dime. In church I loved dancing, reading, Jr. Daughters and most of all, singing. Being in the choir is really what kept me in church, it is what fulfilled me.
Sunday after Sunday, I opened my missalette and read the Word, and then listened to the priest tie in the readings with a story that was completely inapplicable and irrelevant to my own life. I felt like I was there, but not really there, pretty much tuned out. I got to know the Lord most through song. Singing was my message, singing was my teacher, singing was my healer. Singing His praises taught me more about God’s Word and made me feel closer to the Lord than anything I had ever experienced.
With any church, there is drama.
I left my church-home of 18 years at the of 22. The drama that drove our choir apart was too much for me to handle. If I could no longer sing God’s praises, there was no reason for me to stay, so I left. I have not consistently been to church ever since. Believe me, we have tried to find a church-home, having visited many churches, but were unsuccessful. A few churches we visited, I was literally appalled at how star-struck they were. At one church that we attended, a family left IN THE MIDDLE OF SERVICE to go grab a football for my husband to sign!
We have had pastors ignore our family and only address Marcus, and at another church we were graciously allowed back in the “VIP” room after the service. There was lavish food, plush couches and a tv. I had never seen anything like it, but I felt quite weird about it.
We there to worship and hear the Word just like everyone else. We didn’t need special treatment, we didn’t need to be bombarded and for darn sure my kids and I didn’t need to be ignored.
All of this left a bad taste in my mouth and left me feeling a serious amount of guilt. We were not attending church every Sunday, my kids were not having the same involvement as I did as a child, and I felt like I was failing as a Christian parent. It is my job to make sure they know the Lord, that they have a good biblical foundation, and they become good Christians; I was not a good Christian. Which brings me back to the question, what makes a good Christian anyways?
Today, when we do attend service, we attend a wonderful Christian church. It is laid back, the Word is always good, and the Pastor is awesome. Whenever I go, I always feel welcomed; I do not feel judged for the Sunday’s I don’t attend. Every time I walk in I feel the presence of the Lord. This is how it should be when attending a church; no matter where you are with your walk with the Lord, you know you’re not alone. Going there is like a fresh start; I can come just as I am and experience God’s love and the love of others.
Honestly, I still miss the community I had at my old church. I wish my kids could do all the things that I did in my church. Who knows, maybe one day they will. Which brings me back to what makes a good Christian? What makes me a good Christian mother?
My kids know the Lord, they love the Lord, and they spread their love of the Lord with others.
My children are not perfect, and I do not expect them to be. I am not requiring them to be the ultimate Christian because, let’s be honest, I ain’t even close. I will never cast judgment for their religious choices and make them feel as if because they aren’t a certain way, they aren’t Christians. They will fall, they will get back up, and what matters most is they are good human beings. I want my kids to serve others, love everyone and let their little lights shine wherever they go.