This past week I put out a call on Facebook, asking readers to tell me what they’d like to hear more about on Beauty in the Mess. The response was: How to have faith when you question religion? I have to say, my heart just about stopped when I read it. This is a very hard, but a very important question. I’m praying that I can do it justice, but please speak up in the comments section and help me out!
Sometimes looking at religious institutions, and even religious leaders, can be discouraging. There can be pettiness, deceit, hateful actions and words, and so many other issues that I cannot name. I was at a church for many years that was in a horrible cycle. One of its many problems was that people would come, I and others would connect with them, then they would leave in very damaging ways.
It got to the point that even after I left that church, I could not trust church people. At my new church, I sometimes literally hid to escape the kindness of the people. These new people were loving on me and caring for me, but I would cringe because of the hurtful situation I’d been in before.
For a long time, I was mad that this had happened. I was sick of church politics and I didn’t want to get involved. And it made me very skittish about staying at a church and connecting with the people. It took a lot of prayer and some godly counseling from an outside source before I was finally able to open my heart again.
But during this whole thing I never lost faith. I always knew that God was there. Sure, I was frustrated with Him at times. I even questioned His decisions. But when I cried out to Him in pain, after all the anger and the tears, I could hear His still, small voice. I could feel His presence, like arms holding me.
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. -Mark 11:22
Faith is your trust and belief that Jesus is our Lord and savior. That He died on the cross because he loved you so much that He wanted to take your sins on Himself so that you could spent eternity with Him–free from the pains of this world.
Your faith should not be tied to religion. Even the best of institutions will fail you at times. They are run by flawed human beings after all. Faith is tied to one thing alone–God. And He is perfect. Even though that doesn’t mean our lives will be.
My last point is that not all religious institutions are bad and just because you’ve had a bad experience doesn’t mean you should swear them off altogether. The church is the bride of Christ. Jesus set up this institution so that we can fellowship with other believers, so that we are not alone in our triumphs and our sorrows. If you haven’t found the right place for you, I urge you to keep searching. Because now, I and my family have wonderful church families who love and support us. I am blessed to have these people in my life. So blessed.
So even though you might be going through a difficult period, hold on to your faith. It is the one solid place in which you can take refuge. And if you are struggling, talk to someone. Talk to me! Getting an outside look on your inside pain can help you find new ways to deal with your struggles, and eventually find healing. And know that I’ll be praying for you.
How would you respond to the question: How to have faith when you question religion? Have you had this question? Do you still? How have you overcome struggles with religion? How has holding onto your faith helped you in troubled times?
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