By: Keith Sampson

 

Lately, the threat of terror has risen back to the top of conversations and thoughts. Paris and more recently San Bernardino have brought these concerns to our country, to our cities…

 

Following these attacks, I have read posts, articles, and conversations about religion, culture, guns, and more. Religion is blamed and often vilified. As a believer in Jesus, and as someone who desperately tries to spread the hope that only He can provide, I’ve encountered many questions and obstacles.

 

A few weeks ago at church, the pastor made a very good point that both answered questions and created more: “Religion is man-made, and Satan uses religion to keep people from entering into a relationship with Jesus.”

 

This summed up what I believe in one statement. I have always said that my hope comes from a relationship with Jesus, not a religion. I don’t even like to call myself “religious” because, by definition, that has everything to do with what I do, not what Jesus did for me.

 

Some of the questions this raised were:

  • “How do we combat this deception with the love of Jesus?” Not one situation that I know of has been a case of someone killing another human being “in the name of the love of Jesus!” So how do we extend Jesus’ love while disavowing religion?
  • “Where do we draw the line, and how do we address defending ourselves lovingly?”
  • “In this crazy world that we live in, how do I continue to be a person of peace?”

 

The only solution that I can come up with for now is to filter my thoughts and actions through the life that Jesus led, and what He taught in the Bible. People who truly understand this don’t shoot up abortion clinics, don’t blow up planes, and don’t spew hatred for one another.

 

How long will we continue to let religion be a distraction from Jesus? How long will I continue to allow myself to be lumped into those “religious” people?

 

I have a relationship, not a religion…I follow Jesus.

 

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