Okay, so I'm not going to lie....99.9% of this post probably comes from the fact that I'm reading the book "Hear No Evil" by Matthew Turner, and it's got me thinking about all those religious "rules" we follow as Christians! Rules that aren't even necessarily in the bible...unless of course you're living by the old testament law like the guy who wrote "A year of Biblical living" (A.J. Jacobs)....but that, as Christians, we follow and then back up using quotes of scripture from the Good Book.
For example, one of my "fondest" memories of feeling like an outsider in church..and believe me there are plenty....happened way back in high school when my "best friend" pulled me out of service into the hallway to tell me that I wasn't ALLOWED to wear my sweater ever again because it made my boobs look too big and would cause my "brothers in Christ" to stumble! Mind you this was my favorite sweater....and my MOM had bought it for me....my MOM, who still buys all her clothes out of a catalog! It wasn't distasteful in any way and covered me up way more than half the other girls in the service.....so why was I getting picked on for?!?! I can't help it if God made me well endowed and pretty much anything I wear shows it off! None the less, I never wore that sweater again...Anywhere....cause who wants to be the girl making the guys stumble?!?!
Or there's the fact that, although I am not big on swearing, every once in a while a "holy sh**" will slip out of my mouth...which mind you, I grew up in a family where that wasn't considered a bad word, but rather something the dog use to do in the back yard! If I'm with anyone other than my Christian friends, it's no big deal and honestly it doesn't seem to phase anyone if it comes out.....although every once in a while one of my "heathen" friends will let a smirk cross their face and nod just a little to acknowledge that their "straight-n-narrow" friend isn't perfect either! Yet if I happen to let that slip out in a group of Christians, it's as if I murdered a puppy! The looks I get, the awkward giggles that cover up the fact that "someone made a boo-boo" or the lectures I later get about how "out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" and thus I must be dangling way too close to the worldly line.....make me feel like once again I've failed some Christian pop quiz of life!
Now don't get me wrong.....I do believe in being pure and that we do need to honor God with our whole lives.... and I am blessed to have some pretty great Christian friends in my life who don't treat me like the awkward step-sister of the family.....but sometimes all these extra rules make me feel like the worst Christian in the world! I mean does it really mean I love God any less because I like to sing along to "Payphone" in my car or because I'm sad they killed Lexi off in the season finale of Grey's Anatomy?!?! Do I lose points in heaven because I never felt "led" to pray out loud during our small group or because I don't lift my hands in worship?!? Do all these extra rules we come up with really matter.....or should I just stick to what Matthew 22 says and believe that "you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind...and love your neighbor as yourself... for the entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commands"?!?! Why does everything have to be so complicated?!?