Jefferson Bethke Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus
What if I told you: Jesus came to abolish religion?
What if I told you: getting you to vote Republican really wasn’t his mission?
Because Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian.
And just because you call some people blind doesn’t automatically give you vision.
If religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?
Why does it build huge churches, but fails to feed the poor?
Tells single moms God doesn’t love them if they’ve ever been divorced?
Yet God in the Old Testament actually calls religious people whores.
Religion preaches grace, but another thing they practice;
Tends to ridicule God’s people – they did it to John the Baptist.
Cant fix their problems, so they try to mask it,
Not realizing that’s just like spraying perfume on a casket.
Because the problem with religion is that it never gets to the core,
It’s just behaviour modification – like a long list of chores.
Let’s dress up the outside, make things look nice and neat;
It’s funny – that’s what they do to mummies, while the corpse rots underneath.
Now I ain’t judging, I’m just saying be careful of putting on a fake look,
Because there’s a problem if people only know that you’re a Christian
by that little section on your Facebook.
In every other aspect of life you know that logic’s unworthy;
It’s like saying you play for the Lakers just because you bought a jersey!
But see: I played this game too; no one seemed to be on to me;
I was acting like a church kid while addicted to pornography.
I’d go to church on Sunday, but on Saturday got ‘faded’,
As if I was simply created to have sex and get wasted.
Spent my whole life putting on this façade of neatness,
But now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness.
If grace is water, then the church should be an ocean,
Cuz it’s not a museum for good people – it’s a hospital for the broken.
I no longer have to hide my failures, I don’t have to hide my sin,
Because my salvation doesn’t depend on me – it depends on Him.
Because when I was God’s enemy and certainly not a fan,
God looked down on me and said: “I want that man!”
Which is so different from religious people, and why Jesus called ’em fools;
Don’t you see he’s so much better than just following some rules?
Now let me clarify: I love the church, I love the Bible, and I believe in sin.
But my question is: if Jesus were here today, would your church let Him in?
Remember, He was called a drunkard and a glutton by “religious men”;
The Son of God does not support self-righteousness – not now, not then.
Now back to the topic…one thing I think is vital to mention:
How Jesus and religion are on opposite spectrums.
One is the work of God, one is a man-made invention;
One is the cure and one is the infection.
Because Religion says do, Jesus says done.
Religion says slave, Jesus says son.
Religion puts you in shackles but Jesus sets you free.
Religion makes you blind, but Jesus lets you see.
This is what makes religion and Jesus two different clans;
Religion is man searching for God, but Christianity is God searching for man.
Which is why salvation is freely mine, forgiveness is my own,
Not based on my efforts, but Christ’s obedience alone.
Because He took the crown of thorns, and blood dripped down His face,
He took what we all deserved – that’s why we call it grace.
While being murdered he yelled “father forgive them, they know not what they do”,
Because when he was dangling on that cross, he was thinking of You!
He paid for all your sin, and then buried it in the tomb,
Which is why I’m kneeling at the cross now, saying: come on, there’s room!
So know I hate religion, in fact I literally resent it,
Because when Jesus cried “It is finished” – I believe He meant it.
. . . Spoken-Word performer and poet Jefferson Bethke is from Tacoma, Washington, U.S.A. He explains: This poem I wrote to highlight the difference between Jesus and false religion. In the scriptures Jesus received the most opposition from the most religious people of his day. At its core Jesus’ gospel and the good news of the Cross is in pure opposition to self-righteousness/self-justification. Religion is Man-centred, Jesus is God-centred. This poem highlights my journey to discover this truth. Religion either ends in pride or despair. Pride because you make a list and can do it and act better than everyone, or despair because you can’t do your own list of rules and feel “not good enough” for God. With Jesus, though, you have humble, confident joy because He represents you, you don’t represent yourself, and His sacrifice puts us in perfect standing with God!
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