Opinion: Living for Jesus rather than judgement

Averi Yanney, News Reporter

Illustration by Averi Yanney / The Runner

The source of my strength, renewal, and hope is perceived as the source of pain, degradation, and rejection by others in today’s culture.

Looking among those I am surrounded, I wonder how many people I see around me have been rejected by people in the church who were supposed to represent the gospel to them. I wonder how many of these people have been deprived of the opportunity to be loved and accepted because of a church’s prejudice.

“Identity” and “truth” are two terms that are heavily discussed within our culture today. Although culture expresses accepting one’s truth, the truth I know is increasingly more rejected.

Young adults in particular are actively searching for a place of belonging; a safe place. We tend to seek this out in various ways whether healthy or not.

I found my place of belonging in Jesus Christ. I have sinned against Him, I made mistakes, I questioned His existence. Yet, in His grace He still accepts me.

As wonderful as this is, I know that there are so many people that have not found the same acceptance and love that I have.

A lot of people can only associate Christianity with church hatred and condemnation. These things are real and valid as some churches pick and choose certain sins to impose judgement on others.

In a TikTok from @3amvibespodcast, KC recounts his experience observing those in the local church. “To me one thing I genuinely hated was when I thought the bible said God is the only judge but to me people who claim to be somewhat seriously–you know attend church or what not–to me and my experience they tend to be one of the most judgmental people ever,” said KC.

By no means are Christians supposed to condemn as the first course of action. In John 4, when it was expected that an adulteress should be stoned, Jesus told religious leaders that whoever among them was without sin should stone her. None of them were without sin, so none of them could impose judgement upon her. Jesus then lovingly told her that he didn’t condemn her either.

This doesn’t mean we can abuse God’s grace and continue living in sin. But there is an open door to live a life where we can be made new.

On an episode of Better Together Nora Jones, a Christian speaker said, “I think that the way we first begin to mend church hurt is by acknowledging that it is real and it is happening but then too we have to help people heal by teaching them how the Word of God can transform our lives”

It is hard to know what our students here have going on. There is the pressure to succeed, to fit in, and to figure out what to do in the future. There could also be so many other things going on at home.

The more I look at social media, the more I see people rejecting Christianity. I also see many people sharing their very valid experiences of the church not welcoming them with loving arms.

“Church hurt- I believe can be healed by helping people understand that the word of God is not abstract. It can actually help you see your circumstance in a light of victory as opposed to victimhood,” said Jones.

In the same episode, Jackie Hill Perry said, “I think people go to church, but they are not equipped to know what bad churches actually look like. So, they position themselves inside of these churches not knowing that this church ain’t God’s church.”

Seeing circulating videos online of people openly disrespecting my faith led me to question what I should do in response to this. My conclusion is to continue to learn how to love others the way Jesus would.

In an article, Daniel Blackaby writes, “We should leave no doubt that we are set apart from the world around us not because we constantly rail against culture but because we have been transformed by the one who has already overcome the world.”

My hope is that as a Christian I can be a model of faith to those around me. There are churches out there that forget that Christianity is to mirror 1 Corinthians 13. Without love, faith is dead and our efforts amount to nothing.