I may be wrong about my religion. It’s hard to grasp or even fathom seeing as how I pray every day. I read the Bible. I worship faithfully. I’ve been raised to know Jesus. I have always wanted to please God. I believe I love Him with all of my heart. Yet, at the end of the day, it is possible that I might be wrong about some things.
Now if you ask my friends they will all say that as long as I mean well and I am trying my best that is all that God requires. The preacher on television keeps telling me that as long as I am a good person and I believe in Jesus and I give to charity and I am kind to my fellow man that God will bless me. I read the paper and watch the news and I am involved in social media and they are all saying that really nothing anybody does is wrong: It’s just up to personal choices. So maybe my concern about my wrongness has no merit…maybe it’s just something I’ve concocted in my brain.
But here is the problem. I have been wrong before. I know so much more now than I once knew. In studying God’s word I have seen where I have been wrong about doctrine. In studying church history I have learned about the origins of some Christian groups and their teachings. In looking at what I have been exposed to, I have seen inconsistencies in what I have been taught. I have discovered that some of what I have been doing is more human tradition than holy commandment. I have also learned that on some very core issues different teachings exist and everyone cannot be right.
And then there are the examples I read about from some of the most outstanding people in the Bible. Moses, David, Peter, Paul – all at times were wrong. Moses let pride get the best of him. David allowed a temptation to nearly ruin his life. Peter, as an apostle, was a hypocrite in front of the Gentiles. And Paul, well before he became an apostle his religion was just completely wrong altogether! But I know these men loved God. They were just mistaken and needed to change. They learned the hard way until they learned the right way. I am confident that I am no better than these great men.
So here is where I find myself: Determined to have an open mind every day about my relationship with God. Determined to know God’s word and obey it, even if it is in conflict with my current beliefs and practices. Determined to listen to others concerning what they understand and practice themselves and why so that I might learn from them. Determined not to allow my family’s religious tradition and practice define who I am and what I believe. Determined to have a heart for God that is equally balanced with a knowledge and adherence to the truth. Determined not to be troubled by a new discovery of God’s will that conflicts with the one I am currently following. Determined that this journey will be not one of fear but of power and love and of a sound mind. Determined to please God and God alone.
I am learning because of God’s grace that everyone is wrong, and regularly so. We are human. We are weak. Therefore we are all wrong at times. God has allowed for it because He knows our frame. But God has also overcome it through the cross. The cross is what reminds me that I am often wrong. But it also reminds me that I don’t have to stay that way.
It is only when I see the cross that I truly see Jesus. I see Him hanging there. I see the consequences of my wrongness. And I am ready now to change.
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” – Romans 12:2
AUTHOR: Jeremiah Tatum