I grew up going to Catholic Church as well as Catholic school. Looking back I feel it gave me a foundation of faith, but it left a lot of questions. As I recall, the religious education really pushed the rules. Not so much the rules, teachings, and laws of God, but more the rules of the Catholic church. I don’t remember ever being told I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I remember doing all of the sacraments. I remember wondering why I had to tell a priest my sins when God already knew what I did. Couldn’t I just say sorry to Him? Then you tell the priest and he gives you penance. Usually it was in the form of prayers like Hail Mary and the Our Father. Both great prayers, but does giving that as punishment encourage a person to pray? And didn’t Jesus come to die in order to atone for our sins?
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
I am not trying to bash the Catholic faith. I just now wonder why they weren’t teaching about Jesus as much as they were the rules of Catholicism. It seems that there was more focus on their rules and sacraments instead of teaching the Gospel.
A great friend of mine recently asked me to be the God Father for his baby girl. I accepted this great honor and asked him if I need to be Catholic and if there is any paper work I need to turn in. He told me I can turn in paper work or just be a Christian witness. I do have paper work from growing up Catholic but I am choosing to be a Christian witness. (Why does the Catholic church need to keep documents of believers as proof that they believe?)
Last week I had to go to a class on how to be a God parent. I thought the class was great. The Deacon was passionate about taking the role seriously and not just having the title. I will confess this is the third time I am going to have this role and the first time I feel I know what it means. But this is also the role that the Church should have. Not just the Catholics, but the Church, who I believe are all Christian believers. We are all responsible for continuing to teach the Gospel to our youth. We are all responsible for helping put the anchor of faith in Jesus into our youth. (One thing that did bother me about what the Deacon was saying was that he seemed to put more attention on teaching “our faith” Catholicism instead of teaching about Jesus.)
I was never taught I could have a personal relationship with Jesus. I know this now and I want you to know that YOU CAN HAVE A PERSONAL REALATIONSHIP WITH JESUS! You do not have to go to a priest and confess in order to start your relationship. If you choose to you can right now say:
“Jesus, I am a sinner. I have done so many bad things. I don’t feel I deserve forgiveness. I don’t feel that I know who You are. I have heard about you a little, but I don’t know You and don’t know how You can even know or like me. I hear people talk about You, but what they say doesn’t make sense. You died for me they tell me. All I have to do is tell You what I have done and believe in You and I am forgiven? Jesus, I am right now going to do that. Please forgive me. Jesus, if this is real I want to feel Your presence in my life. I want to believe. Help me believe. Please Jesus. Help me to believe.”
Pray this and see what happens. Will all of your worries and troubles go away and tomorrow you’ll be a millionaire? No, but you will begin to feel whole. You will begin to feel healing. You will begin to feel Jesus.
You see, I went away from Jesus until recently. I didn’t really know Him as a Catholic. People may ask my religion now and my anwer is simple. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. While it is simple to say, it is not easy to follow Christ but it is a beautiful walk.
So, are rules important? Yes! Jesus still wants us to follow God’s law. Jesus commanded us as well.
This is my command: Love each other. John 15:17
This is important to follow. If we follow all the other laws and don’t have love what good are we?
Enjoy this tune about this subject.
Don’t be afraid that you will be judged if you come to Jesus. Don’t feel you need to come to Him clean. He is here to clean us. He is here to love us. He came to save us.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17