There have been two times in my life where I feel my faith has been the most vulnerable. Twice where I felt that my faith had endured an atomic attack.
The first time happened when I was in my 20s. A beloved pastor and mentor whom I had respected and loved, fell to infidelity. This may not sound like much to some, but to a relatively new Christian, a pastor was someone almost above reproach. You certainly did not expect infidelity to be a struggle for them. At least it wasn’t in my mind. But there it was.
The day my pastor announced the news and asked the church for forgiveness was one of the most emotionally confusing days of my life. I loved my pastor. And of course, I forgave him. But, if he (who was such a godly man) struggled and fell, what hope did I have?
Shortly thereafter I came out as a gay man and the church that I had grown to love kicked me out of the congregation. It truly was a dark and rebellious time for me.
Years later, I came back to the Lord and renewed my walk with Him. Eventually, I accepted who He made me be.
Christians were not happy.
But then it happened again.
This time, it wasn’t a pastor but rather the Christian community that delivered the groundbreaking blow.
As I witnessed a man who lacked any sense of morality take a stand to run for the presidency of a “Christian nation”, I laughed.
Surely this is a joke. This man just wanted publicity.
But then I saw people rallying behind him.
And those people were “Christians”.
And then this man became the president.
I struggled like I had not struggled ever since that day in that Baptist church. My emotions were laid bare as I witnessed people who had condemned immorality in any form, cast their lots on a man who had no resemblance to anything described as a good leader. Rather this man was prideful, arrogant, sexually immoral, a liar, and the list just went on.
As a person who has been the victim of an untold amount of accusations and doubts concerning my salvation because of my sexual orientation, it blows my mind that these same people can so easily support a man that has blatantly and unequivocally done what the Lord says is wrong.
So, I struggled.
For a while, I was angry because I felt betrayed.
I was angry because I felt so lost…again.
It’s been a year now and I’m not angry, though I have not stepped inside a church.
I don’t think I ever will.
But that does not mean that I have lost my faith. The irony is that in some ways my faith is stronger.
In the midst of everything that has happened, the Lord, I feel, has shown me that people are people. It doesn’t matter what label they brand themselves with or what they look like. At the end of it all, people are people. We are people. And God loves us the same.
I’ve had to learn to separate who Christ is with the label of “Christianity” and take Christ at his own merits. And in Christ, I have placed my trust.
My faith was rocked but not destroyed because my eyes have always looked to the Lord. The whole world could go against Him but my eyes will be on the Lord.
I don’t say that to sound haughty. My eyes are fixed on Him because he’s made that possible. It has nothing to do with me.
Nevertheless, what I have learned is that now more than ever, it’s important to grab hold of Christ. To seek Him and to love Him. Not the religion, but the person.
There is so much rhetoric, dogma, and religious talk that sounds holy. But the gospel is simple, faith in Christ. And that faith draws you to that which is good.
“It doesn’t matter what label they brand themselves with or what they look like. At the end of it all, people are people. We are people. And God loves us the same.”
There are some Christians who see Trump for who he is.
There are some that don’t.
This no longer shocks me.
I feel the Lord is calling us out. These are dark times. Now, more than ever, light must shine.
This light is not ours but the Lord’s. Therefore, if we are not connected to Him, we will always lack the ability to shine it.
Brothers and sisters, let us hold fast unto the Lord so that His light can shine. It needs to shine.
The world has seen the hypocrisy of the churches and has lumped anyone and everyone who dare claim the label “Christian” in the same boat.
The world does not respect Christianity anymore. But why would they when Christianity keeps standing for and doing that which is supposed to stand against:
Pastors of mega-churches are wealthy and greedy.
Pastors are constantly caught in sexual sins
Churches fail to stand up to racial injustice, economic abuse, and migratory hatred
Churches have become angry and political with no hint of love or caring.
And churches have elected a man that is nothing even remotely close to a person that is a moral example.
The world has taken note.
And when one of the few commandments Jesus actually gave us, which was to go out into the world and make disciples, is hindered by these failures, there’s a problem.
Jesus wants people to come to Him, but the church has made that difficult. People can’t see Jesus in church people anymore.