12/10/2015 Ezekiel about 35
The gospel wasn't meant to be spread by force. It is a free gift of God, and gifts are not meant to be given at the end of a sword. Which is why misguided efforts to force Christianity on others are obviously contrary to Jesus teachings and wide open to criticism. Even non-Christians know hypocrisy when they see it, which is why more and more people are rejecting organized religion in favor of simply calling themselves “spiritual”.
This is how a young father name is Ezekiel, whom I reached out to at the store after finishing my grocery shopping, describes his beliefs. Instead of giving up on faith in God and spirituality altogether, he has turned to a belief in karma and reincarnation. I believe he hasn’t totally given up on faith, because this means he still believes in a sense of right and wrong and accountability for his actions. The question is, what can one do about it?
As Christians we understand that our sins create a barrier and a broken relationship between ourselves and God that no amount of human effort, no matter how religious, can restore. God is holy and just, so we can’t “pay” for righteousness, and trying to do so is like trying to bribe the judge into forgetting our guilt. We understand that good works or religion isn't the answer; a faith relationship with Jesus is.
But maybe people like Ezekiel are on to something. Maybe when they say they are “spiritual”, it is just their way of saying they want a right relationship with God. They know something is wrong but still aren't sure how to restore that relationship and they know religious ritual isn't the answer.
We can't force them into a right relationship with God, not with the end of a sword or with the peer pressure of a dominant culture. But we can tell them where that right relationship can be found. We can offer that free gift of salvation that comes through a faith relationship with Jesus, and we don't even need a sword.