It Is Tough Being A Christian

We are not talking about all the traps that evil sets to cause us to stumble or about all the unbelievers who continue to criticize and throw stones at those of us who believe in Jesus. Those people should listen to Jesus’ admonition to the Pharisaical leaders of his day- ‘You who are without sin cast the first stone’.

It is just hard being a Christian even from the Christian side of everything. Too many believers often over-step their boundaries and meddle in other believers’ lives. That meddling can get spiritually damaging after a while.

Or some believers start organizations to do Christianity after their beliefs and do not want outside interference. We worked in a group home owned by one such PAstor and he had an organization in the Dominican Republic.

We were in Indiana at this group home to do some training before becoming the chaplain in that country. Amazingly enough, we did not fit in as they ran that group for boys like a prison. In fact, one teenager was brought there in handcuffs.

They basically did not want a chaplain to interact with the boys, t use, it seemed like they wanted a prison guard. To make a long story short, we were let go. Some of these organizations exist because parents truly want their children to grow up the right way and they are protecting their children in the best way they can think of.

This attitude may be good but it is implemented in the wrong manner. We do not know the damage done to the boys that entered the group home as any that tried to keep in contact with us, we soon discouraged and we stopped hearing from them.

Then some years later we went to a YWAM base in Montana. There were three of us at the start who did not fit in because we were damaged goods. By the time of the banquet celebrating the returning group from their mission effort, there was a table o fuse who did not fit in and we were seen as outcasts.

We were no different from anyone else there as we were all believers, and we all loved Jesus, but because we were not exactly like everyone else, we were shunned. The three of us helped a campfire one night and invited everyone to join us, but no one did. But those we invited held their own campfire the next night and did not invite the three of us.

Christians have a difficult time living the Christian life because of other Christians who are trying to please Jesus. They just go about in a strict way that makes things tough for younger kids and young adults.

Take for example the Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts. It is back in the news again because of Jinger Duggar Vuolo who calls it a cult now. We attended it twice almost 50 years ago but to tell the truth we do not remember much of what was taught.

The initial purpose of the Institute seems legitimate:

At the age of 15, Bill Gothard noticed some of his high school classmates making unwise decisions. Realizing that they would have to live with the consequences of these decisions, he was motivated to dedicate his life to helping young people make wise choices.

The Source of True Wisdom

Shortly thereafter, an older friend challenged Bill to begin memorizing large sections of Scripture. Until his high school years, Bill had been a very poor student, flunking first grade and passing the next eight grades on probation. However, as he memorized and meditated on Scripture, Bill’s grades improved significantly—so much so that he graduated from high school a member of the National Honor Society. This direct correlation between his grades and consistency in memorizing and meditating on Scripture continued through college and graduate school. (source)

Somehow a lot of the lessons taught in that seminar were lost in translation as Christians seem to over-apply those principles and lost sight of Jesus. There is nothing wrong with memorizing scripture and meditating on it as long as you learn what God is really saying in those verses and apply them correctly to your lives.

Too many people get caught up in the interpretation of the Bible and seminar content like the Institutee’s and things get twisted and bent out of shape. The principles in this specific seminar and all the other Christian ones would be okay as long as you let God lead you to the truth and how you should implement them.

Most people just accept the content as is and do no spiritual work, unlike the Bereans in the Book of Acts. Then they implement a strict code of conduct for their children or spouses and that is where the trouble starts.

Just recently we read an article on a young woman who committed suicide after helping her parents commit suicide:

“She grew up in a very uptight Christian household. …. Her family life, according to CPS, was perfect, but the amount of control her parents had over her was crazy. She wasn’t allowed to go out with friends. She wasn’t allowed any social media. Anything fun that she liked to do she was only allowed to do it with supervision. It was kinda like she was a prisoner in her own home,” the friend, identified only as Samantha told YouTube personality Molly Golightly in an interview on Monday. (source)

We are not calling jehovah Witnesses Christian if that turns out to be the denomination she and her parents were a part of. We are using it as an example because the same attitudes, strictness, rules, etc., are found in true Christian homes as well.

One reason life as a Christian is hard is that human parents, spouses, or friends take it upon themselves to be overly protective of their children, friends, etc. Being over protective doe snot help Christians grow, mature or understand what God wants from them.

Yes, there are rules to follow but those rules must be implemented with the wisdom, understanding, and knowledge God told us to get. he also told us to lean not to our own understanding but to trust him.

Those Christians growing up or part of a very strict Christian environment do not get to learn trust and the people in charge are not trusting God as they try to control every aspect of those lives. They do not want their charges or spouses, etc. to stray or sin so they go a bit overboard and make life difficult.

Part of the problem is that there are supposed t be over 40,000 Christian denominations all of which are going after their own interpretation and not the truth. It is no wonder many believers leave the church or have mental illness issues like that young girl experienced. No one is giving the truth and they almost all disagree with each other with some exceptions.

Many of these families, pastors, church leaders, and missionaries teach the Bible verse ‘love not the world nor the things in the world.’ Great verse as it teaches us that we are to love God over all the things in the world.

But too many of those leaders, etc., teach that we cannot do or have those things because that is what the verse is saying. No, the verse does not restrict us from having some of those things, it teaches that we are not to love them.

We can have cars, stereos, homes, etc., as long as we love God over our material possessions. When it comes to dating, we are all for purity culture but only to the extent that the boy and girl refrain from sexual activity until they are married.

The Bible does not say you cannot kiss but going further than that is pushing the limits. Holding hands, and hugging is okay, and we do not care about the 3-second rule. if you keep it clean and not crossing the boundary into sinful behavior hug away.

We say sinful behavior because there is a line that needs to be crossed that takes romantic encounters from proper behavior or from true love to fornication, immorality, and so on. We are to give glory to God in all things and we cannot do that if we let our romantic lives sin or disobey God.

What makes all of this difficult for Christians is that other Christians learn something wrong or are taught wrong, they misunderstand a point, and so on, then try to make it a policy or rule for their children, etc. What happens when you break a rule is you run afoul of the human Christian rules but not God’s.

Young Christians get in trouble for the former and not the latter. This brings those ‘offenders’ into a warped version of what God is teaching in the Bible. Then they get confused and have nowhere to turn because everyone around them is on the side of their parents or their church except unbelievers.

The young Christians get their heads turned around and start rejecting true Christian teaching for secular lies and false teaching. before you know it they are out the door of the church and when they leave their family home, they stray further and further away from God.

Parents, etc., get the results they were hoping to avoid by applying strict rules for the lives of their children. Jesus said we would know the truth, and we will if we let the Holy Spirit lead us to the truth of what God is saying in the Bible and how to implement that knowledge properly.

We have to have wisdom and understanding to do just that. Yes, both God and Jesus gave parents their children and pastors, etc., their congregations, mission fields, and Sunday School classes. But he also gave them the correct instructions to follow.

It is up to them to learn the truth and what God really meant so that the children, etc., are taught correctly and not driven away into the realm of unbelief. Yes, it is hard to be a Christian because this action often takes people out of their comfort zones, away from their denominational teaching, and into areas that will make them targets from both sides of the spiritual fence.

But didn’t Jesus already experience that? If you have trouble with this direction, you know that Jesus navigated it before you and is ready to help when you call.While being a Christian is hard, we are not alone and have supernatural help backing us up.