I’ve known of you my entire life, but I never got to know you until recently.
I’m sorry for that.
In Vacation Bible School you were fun. If I knew enough about you, if I memorized enough verses in the Bible, I got stickers and candy.
I knew that the B-I-B-L-E, yes, that was the book-for-me.
You’ve been around all along, but when I started to get a little older, I based what I felt about you off the opinions of others. Because all my friends couldn’t be wrong.
Christianity was a religion for the weak.
I heard you were all about rules and regulations. I was never the kind of guy who brought home his homework, so what made you think I was going to give any attention to your to-do lists?
Christians, I had heard, don’t have sex and don’t listen to rock and roll. They don’t swear or drink, and they only watch Andy Griffith reruns and Kirk Cameron movies. They go to church every Sunday, give away 10% of their paychecks, and are always smiling smug little smiles.
I used to tie bottle rockets to all the G. I. Joes my parents bought me, and launch them above the trees to watch their arms and legs rain down in the neighbor’s yard. That wasn’t a very Christian thing to do, I’m sure.
I also broke into an elementary school once to throw a microwave off the roof because I was hoping it would explode. It didn’t. But from what I understood, a thing like that wouldn’t get me into heaven.
The first time I got drunk, I was sixteen. I figured that must have been pretty unforgivable. So was all that masturbation and vanity.
In fact, I’ve even lied before. I’ve cheated on tests and in relationships. I’ve lusted and watched pornography. And I liked it. I liked it so much, I went right on ahead and had sex outside of marriage too.
I knew there was no place for a guy like me in your club.
I’d be a hypocrite.
Then I found out your churches were full of hypocrites. This made me angry. I thought, “Well, if all those guys are going to Heaven, so am I.”
I could do all those things and pretend to have a relationship with Jesus. And that’s exactly what I did.
But the weight of your (supposed) guilt became too much to carry. I dumped you and everything you’re associated with.
I was finally free.
You never even stood a chance.
And I’m sorry for that.
I am sorry I did all those things, and still called myself a Christian. I wanted you the way I wanted you. Not the way you were being offered. I took your best ideas, and discarded the rest.
I’m sorry for the time I denied the existence of Jesus just to impress a girl I knew was an unbeliever.
I am sorry because I am the one who has given you a bad name.
This is an apology to every Christian bold enough to say he’s a Christian and mean it. I helped tarnish your reputation in Christ. I helped make the world doubt you.
I gave the world reason to hate you.
Nothing hurts the church quite as much as a critical spirit. I am sorry for the way myself and other Christians have come against each other.
I am sorry for the ways I have spoken ill of other churches I have never attended.
I am sorry that Hollywood makes you seem so desperate and full of prideful, well-dressed losers.
I am sorry that the gay community fears you, and wants nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault. It’s ours. We took that and really screwed it up, didn’t we?
And churches may still have hypocrites like me in their congregation, but isn’t that beautiful? That God is building His Kingdom on our shoulders? On the shoulders of guys like me.
When I decided to give you a second chance, it turned out nothing about you had changed. I just saw you differently. Because I saw Jesus first. I built a relationship with him instead of with you. As a result, I saw you for what you really are.
The issue here isn’t Jesus. It’s our relationship with Jesus.
I rejected the cross because it revealed my heart. And my heart is full of darkness. I didn’t need you calling me out.
Your message isn’t pride and arrogance. Your message isn’t about what you are against. Your message is just the opposite. Your message is about what you are FOR.
You are for me.
The Gospel reminds us that we are in desperate need of a Savior.
But we live in a world that preaches we can do it all on our own. A world where independence is king.
I wanted my independence.
I’m sorry for believing I didn’t deserve to be a part of this. I’m sorry for believing that I couldn’t be forgiven.
I am sorry for being so prideful. I thought I knew better. And for a while, I thought my version of Christianity was right and everyone else was wrong.
As it turns out, the only version of Christianity is the one where Christ saves us from ourselves.
The only version of Christianity is the one where I sin, and Christ forgives.
“Christianity is a religion for the weak.”*
I am weak.
And I need your Savior.