Luke 17:21 “The Kingdom of God is within you.”
One of my struggles with Christianity is with accepting Jesus Christ. Just saying those words will have someone – somewhere – screeching “Blasphemer!” at me. Just saying those words stirs a little fear in me. I wrestle with whom and what to believe, but that is who I am.
“Will I go to hell for not believing?”
“What would Jesus do?” (Yes, I am smiling as I wrote that).
I was honestly struggling and all over the map on religion. I asked Dr. Dan and he instructed me to ask God. So I did. I asked God. I asked God to provide a path of understanding so that I may understand Jesus. And He works in subtle ways … ways I would have explained as “everything happens for a reason” in the past. The subtle – yet poignant – ways He makes his will known … are easy to miss.
“God didn’t send you a message. That’s just a coincidence!” Ever said that to yourself? Or had someone else say that? Yes, God does talk to you – but you have to quiet your mind, open your heart and listen.
I believe in God because I asked God for something very specific in order to believe. And that item was delivered within a day.
The next hurdle was Jesus.
Is he the Son of God?
Is He God Himself?
Is he a really, really good salesman?
I’ve spent my adult life believing the latter. But as I opened my head and my heart to God, I questioned the teachings of the Christian church, and asked for someone who could explain what I needed to hear. And I did.
Some churches demand that I must believe in Jesus … or I will not go to heaven. Surely, this wonderful God who gave me free will and a brain to use, will allow me the grace to question what is before me? Why should I believe the idolization of a man?
But I found podcasts and youtubes and websites that explained Jesus in a way that I could nod my head. This is MY path to God. And yours will be different. And that is OK.
God has unveiled the information as I requested. I still have free will. I still have an opinion. But I asked for help and it was given.
And where did I arrive? My readings, listenings led me to this …
We are all Sons and Daughters of God. Jesus was as human as I, but he embodied the spirit. His message is still resonating with us and guides us. He perfected God’s ask of us – do everything in love. In his love for us, he said he would die to show us how much he loved us.
His teachings are simple and just. I will do my best to follow his word. Just as I said that all water is holy, so are all people. It doesn’t matter what our path to God is, just that we follow that connection to God. Jesus has paved the way for us to understand where God really resides. Within us. Outside of us. Everywhere.
What is God?
Who is God?
God is love.
Love God. Love yourself. Love your Mother and Father. Love your husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. Love your children. Love everyone’s children. Love your family and your friends. Love your neighbours. Love your enemies. Love that asshole who mouthed “MOVE” and flipped you the finger because you had the audacity to be heading south as he wanted to turn west. Love the person who votes opposite you. Love the person who believes opposite you. Love your dog, your cat, your horse. Love the trees. Love the skies. Love the sound of your 3-year-old’s voice. Love everything.
This doesn’t mean you have to accept bad behaviour. “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. You get to love yourself and honour yourself. Turn the other cheek doesn’t mean lay down and be a doormat for rotten people. (That’s a topic I will explore deeper as I try to live in grace, and there are people who I am having a really tough time showing any grace towards).
Don’t forget that the bible is a collection of letters, stories and narratives from an era very different from our own. They just didn’t have the education or experience or language we have. While it is the word of God, it was interpreted by man through his language and lens. You have to tease out the right intention from 2016 year old words.
All water is holy. All people are holy. You don’t need an ordained minister to anoint your forehead with blessed water to be forgiven for the crappy shit you do. You have a direct path to God and can ask for yourself. But you have to mean it and do everything in love.
And don’t do crappy shit to begin with. Just don’t.