WARNING: This may be offensive. Please trust my heart and my intentions to speak all of this in love and conviction for myself included.
So, I'm a pretty loud person. When I say that I mean, I have a loud laugh, I talk really loud when I get enthusiastic (which is about a lot of things) and I've had many people tell me they can tell when I'm around. Now with that, I don't feel like I'm usually loud in an offensive way, and never want to be considered that, but nonetheless may still come off that way with this blog post.
So I live in Grand Rapids now and it's a cool and fun city (but sorry folks, there's still no place like Kalamazoo to me). Anyway, there are some things I really enjoy about this city..like downtown, all the options for EVERYTHING--food, hobbies, recreation, community involvement, neighborhoods, etc. I value the way this city has really expanded and grown into a "well oiled machine" per say and has really become a hot spot.
However, my biggest pain, biggest frustration, biggest heart ache about this city is the sense of religiosity and self-righteousness that I have experienced either hurting me or hurting others. Now, I want to justify this by expressing that Jesus can't stand this either. He often corrected the Pharisees and those who were self-righteous. I also want to clarify that I'm not here to point fingers or to say who is self righteous and speak against the church. I am a part of the church, which is the body of Christ, and I will not let Christ be defamed because of how others misrepresent him, because I am guilty of it as well.
What I want to express is that I have come in contact with SO many people that do not want anything to do with Jesus or the Church because of the people who claim to be Christians. This issue breaks my heart so, so much and I often catch myself dwelling on it because of how it pains me. People have told me of the ways they have been hurt by the Church, the body of Christ, because of the judgment and self-righteousness that they convey. Church---Body of Christ, this should NOT be the case! I am SO tired of people hearing the word Christian and thinking (judgmental, hateful, self righteous, hypocritical, legalistic). I mean gosh, the word Christian means FOLLOWER OF CHRIST! Now, I want to show grace to every single Christian out there by expressing that I know none of us will ever be perfect and we are all going to mess up and say and do things that are hurtful to others--I understand that. But our love for each other and our love for others should far outweigh the hurt we cause because we have the Living God that is Perfect Love inside of us.
The people who are misrepresenting Christ seem to be so much louder than the people who are aiming to represent Christ---and I want to be louder.
I want to be louder than the people who speak out against the unchurched or the unsaved.
I want to be louder than the Christians who speak out against the churched, the Body of Christ, their own brothers and sisters for goodness sakes.
I want to be louder than the people who speak out against Christians saying they are judgmental, self-righteous, unloving.
I want to be louder.
I don't want to be afraid of calling myself a Christian because of the negative connotation that goes with it. It seems like everyone is getting louder with their opinions and lifestyles and passions and there are too many people who aim to represent Christ who are being quiet out of fear of being misunderstood. But it is time for us to make some noise! I want to be loud enough that the name of Christ is lifted high! I want Christ to be glorified and for people to draw near to him, because truly, I believe once people know the love of Christ, they won't be able to resist him.