Religion has always been present in my life. As a child, my family attended a small church (in a building slightly bigger then a shed). My grandfather was a preacher and my mother grew up as a member of the Church of Christ. My father was raised Catholic although he was not ‘practicing’ as an adult. We were raised in the Church of Christ.
When I became an adult I knew I believed in God and felt strongly that I was a good person. However, I didn’t feel I needed a building or certain rituals to confirm and celebrate my beliefs. My husband is a devout Catholic. He has studied theology and is passionate about Christianity and Catholicism. He sees the importance of rituals and the unity of the church. If you don’t know my husband on a personal level you would never know this about him. However, if you ask him, he will gladly share his faith and love for Jesus. I admire him for that. We are a married couple but we are two different souls on our own spiritual journey. We have been married for 24 years and we are making it work.
Recently, on our community Facebook page, a newer neighbor was asking about a house in our community. They wondered if anyone occupied this particular home. He explained that he had never seen anyone coming or going. The house was well taken care of so it wasn’t a question of ‘is this house abandoned?”. Our neighbors explained the house was occupied but that the family kept to themselves. Commentary went back and forth. This led to the comment “maybe they only came out at night” (jokingly implying that they were part of ‘Team Edward’). The conversation was light hearted and non-confrontational.
Unexpectedly, this innocent Facebook post took a terrible spin. Another neighbor joined in and informed the participants that they were acting very unchristian like. This comment is what I like to call neighbor shaming. I was shocked and disappointed. In that moment they reinforced a behavior that give Christians a bad name. I don’t believe you need to shame others to show what a great Christian you are. I don’t believe this is what Jesus would want his followers to do.
Recently one of my favorite musical artists, Prince, passed away. While I was watching the coverage I learned so many amazing things I didn’t know about him. For example, he anonymously donated large sums of money to the needy. The key word being ANONYMOUSLY. His beliefs did not allow him to share his ‘act of kindness’ to the world. Prince was a Jehovah’s Witness. The point of this information? I do not share his religion but I share his desire to do good. I admire his anonymity. It speaks volumes.
Whatever religion you follow- I respect you! Truly. We are all on our own spiritual journey. Let’s celebrate our differences. I’m watching and learning each and every day. If you are doing good in the world then you are rocking your belief system. Be true to yourself. Share your love of Christ. And I thank you for making our world a better place!
If you find yourself shaming others then I encourage you to take a moment and ask yourself “WWJD?” Lead with love and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Show the world what great Christians look like. They will be inspired and want to join you in your crusade!