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Sun, Feb. 16

Organized religion viewed as fear factor

Christianity is …about Him!

Many people have problems with organized religion. Religion ties them up in knots.

They view it as a subtle way to keep the ignorant in line through fear. They consider it an excuse for the foolish to procrastinate on earthly problems, while dreaming of a make-believe heaven.

It's no wonder such a view is prevalent. The following true story illustrates the point: A couple came to a pastor to get married. The future bride had no specific expectations of her new relationship. Wounded by a first marriage, trapped in a job monopolizing her life, she barely had time to sleep and not enough energy to trust anybody.

The pastor pointed the future bride to Jesus. Jesus took time to live for us and die on the cross for our sins. He's always there to hear those who trust in him. Trust in God moves us to trust and make time for the people in our life.

Some time later the bride's mother came to the pastor for advice. She was worried sick about a problem in her life. She didn't attend church regularly, so she didn't have much knowledge about Jesus and God's love. Nevertheless, she did say she was excited about going to visit Jerusalem with their church in a few months.

Suspicion, Pride, Escapism, that's all that some people see in religion. You don't have to travel a thousand miles to gather real hope. You can see Jerusalem in the eyes of a woman who dares to trust her husband at Jesus' prompting. You can feel an angel's touch when a child grabs your hand and tells you what he's learned in Sunday school. The world is created anew every time people learn that God has forgiven them because of Jesus.

No wonder some people hate religion. It often becomes just rules and opinions. However, Jesus is living faith and action wrapped into one. False religion breeds pride and guilt. Jesus brings love and forgiveness, compassion and understanding.

Christianity isn't just an empty religion. It's about a living Savior and a grateful response to him.

"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

(Those active in a community ministry may submit columns to elsie@mwaz.com, fax to 636-8045. For more information or to schedule a column date, call 636-1301 or 636-0276. Maximum length is 400 words – editors will cut anything longer and edit all columns.)

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