Were you lied to growing up in the church? It’s actually a possibility.
While this seems like a scary thought, it turns out there are many misconceptions about Jesus and His teachings in today’s Christian sphere. There are certain beliefs that have been deemed as being “Christian” values; however they have no Biblical foundation. In reality, some of these beliefs actually go against what Jesus really wants for us.
Many of the beliefs are intended to guide Christians to do good, but when taken the wrong way can lead down a slippery slope. They twist the Word of God into thinking we can “earn” God’s love, or that God favors some Christians over others, for example. Walking with Jesus isn’t always easy, and doing so believing these false stigmas only makes it more difficult.
Here are some values Jesus wouldn’t support, and the Biblical ideals that we should be focusing on instead.
“Christian Value” #1: Never Doubt or Question God
The idea that a true Christian would never doubt God is a pretty scary thought. Life naturally will have ups and downs, and in the down times people might question their faith. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. God wants us to be able to come to Him with our questions, concerns and fears. If we think we aren’t allowed to do so, our image of God gets twisted. Instead of thinking of Him as our loving Father with open arms, we become fearful He will abandon the doubters, won’t be patient with us, or doesn’t care to hear our problems. We become afraid to talk to the Lord because we think He is angry at us, and we are afraid to talk to other Christians because we think they will judge us. This pushes us further away from the Lord, and gives Satan the opportunity to whisper lies into our ear.
The belief that God hates those who doubt Him simply isn't true, because Jesus walks with the broken, hurt and confused. He is ready to answer all of the questions we have with patience and understanding. The Bible tells us of Christians that questioned God and His motivations, and were met with love from God rather than anger. When we speak with God about our doubts and fears, we actually develop a better relationship with Him.
“Christian Value” #2: Always Have Perfect Church Attendance
You have probably experienced this persistent ideal in Christian culture. A true, faithful Christian doesn’t miss worship services, ever. They don’t miss their small group, church functions or volunteer opportunities. They are present for every event and are active members of the church. They are prompt, ready to listen and contribute.
While attending church is an important aspect of the Christian life, we shouldn’t put it above every other priority in life. It’s possible to have a poor relationship with the Lord and still go to church every Sunday; much like perfect attendance in class doesn’t mean you will get good grades on your test. What should be priority for you is building a meaningful, strong relationship with Jesus Christ. God is more concerned about where your heart is focused and less where your physical body is going. For example, you may have just moved and haven't found a church you feel fits you and your family yet. That's OK, and you shouldn't force yourself to go somewhere you aren't happy. Furthermore, Don’t put your family’s needs off to the side because you feel God will punish you for not attending your Wednesday night church meeting. He knows the true intentions in your heart, and that’s all that matters.
“Christian Value” #3: Christians Always Follow the Rules
Some Christians believe that following the rules all the time is what God considers good and righteous. They will never go against the law because they believe the rules have some level of authority. While many rules are in line with true Christian values, there are some issues with thinking rules can never be wrong. Firstly, righteousness doesn’t equate to law. Righteousness should always equate to Jesus. Some rules, simply, are unfair and unjust. The authoritative bodies that put rules into place, whether they are for a country or a school classroom, aren’t always Christian or follow the Bible’s teachings. Following the rules because you think God would want you to is a misconception. There are many rules that Jesus wouldn't support, and He would rather you support true Christian beliefs and Him.
Furthermore, this thought can lead down a slippery slope where some Christians will believe they are better than others. Being perfect at following all the rules doesn’t make someone “more” Christian or in better favor with God. God loves all His children just the same, no matter what sins they have committed. Even the person who is in jail because they committed theft isn't looked down on by God, and they shouldn't be looked down on by you. If God is willing to look past the rule-breakers and forgive them for their transgressions, you should be willing to do the same.
“Christian Value” #4: Always Say “Yes”
Christians are always ready to help others in any way possible, right? Wrong. While Christians have a calling to be servants of Jesus, that does not mean they have to take on every task asked of them. God knows and understands that you have limits, and taking on too many tasks will lead to burnout, take time from your family, and can even put a wedge between your relationship with Christ. Saying “yes” to a toxic friendship, 3rd volunteer position at your church, or the like will eventually break you down. He understands that your mental health is important!
Saying no is not immediately considered bad in God’s eyes, because He believes certain things have to take priority over saying “yes” to someone requesting help. Don’t push your prayer time aside because your church needs a new adult volunteer to help out with watching the teens during youth group, for example. God knows in your heart if how you feel about the situation. While saying no can be difficult, sometimes it’s an important word to utter. Do so when you know you're at your limits, and other Christians will respect your decision.
“Christian Value” #5: Real Christians Know the Bible Inside and Out
This is another value that can lead down a slippery slope, where one Christian thinks they are better than another. Knowledge of the Bible does not equal righteousness. The teen that is just beginning to develop their relationship with Jesus still gets the same love as someone who has spent years becoming a preacher. It’s important to learn God’s Word and spend time with the Bible, because it is a great tool to help your spiritual journey flourish. However there is so much more to being a Christian than reading text. Being a Christian is about a relationship with Jesus, and knowledge of His teachings is just one part of the bigger whole.
God knows what your heart is focused on. If your heart is trying to build a relationship with God, and strives to know Him more, God will see that. However God also sees when your heart only cares about your ego. Other Christians can be see this fakeness, too. Knowledge of the Bible without any real love for Jesus is easier to spot than you might think. Are you someone who goes around flaunting random facts you know about the Bible, or always correcting others who are wrong? If so, you might be spending time with the Bible for the wrong reason.