When I was younger I avoided everything that was labeled “Christian.” Don’t get me wrong. Mormons are Christians. But I grew up in the heart of the Bible Belt where everybody and their dog was Christian. And yes, there were lots of good Christian people, but there were also those who listened to “Christian” music and wore WWJD bracelets that really weren’t thinking anything about what Jesus really would do in that situation. I just really felt like it was all for show and dubbed all of those church-going, partiers hypocritical. That was my teen angsty decision.
I didn’t feel like I had to wear my religion on my wrist (although I do wear a small CTR–Choose The Right–ring every day), and I certainly didn’t feel that I needed to listen to Christian music to prove that I was, in fact, a Christian. I felt like I could just set an example. Let my light so shine before men.
Of course, this was all the rantings of a judgmental teenager, which, believe it or not, all teenagers are.
Somewhere along the college road, I realized that I needed some uplifting. My step-mom had given me some cds with churchy music on them when I was still in my anti-churchy music teenager phase. I put away my regular music and my pride and popped in my Christian music cd.
Wow. Just wow. I honestly didn’t know why I didn’t listen to it before. Music touches my heart in ways other things cannot. It continues to do so, and I’m not ashamed to say that I have added Christian music to my list of “likes.”
Since my “Christian music is okay” discovery, I’ve branched out some. While I was anti-Veggie Tales before, I came to realize that it’s a fun show with a good message that my kids can watch. And I watch it, too, because that show is just hilarious. I even checked out a book from the library labeled “Christian” and learned a little bit about other faiths.
I guess what I’ve come to realize is this….
1) The fact that those people were listening to Christian music and doing other things doesn’t make them hypocritical. It just means they’re human and need a little uplifting every once in awhile–just like me.
2) How can I expect other people to want to read about my faith when I don’t branch out and read about theirs?
3) I shouldn’t avoid things labeled “Christian.” I should embrace it.
And while you may not see me with a Jesus fish on the back of my car or my kids wearing “Jesus Loves Me” shirts, I am really and truly a Christian. The entire reason I belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is solely based on Him and his wonderful Atonement. He is the center of our doctrine, and everything we do and teach is based upon his beautiful, atoning sacrifice. I have felt its power in my own life, and I hope all you other Christians out there have felt the same.
We may believe differently in a lot of things, but the one important aspect remains the same: “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ… that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26)