Before you get upset about the title to this blog, let me explain what I mean by “religious people.” Notice the quotation marks. I’m not talking about a certain religion. I’m talking about all religions.
The very idea of religion is dangerous! The word “religion” I’m using today is the thought that by following a set of rules and obeying certain laws a person can get into Heaven. That type of religion will send you straight to Hell! Obeying the rules, being a good person, and doing religious acts cannot get anyone into Heaven. Because the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), you can’t work hard enough to create a new life (John 3:3). Therefore, you can’t earn your freedom from sin which means that you can’t earn your way into Heaven.
The Bible’s statements about death and new life challenges the very fabric of all religions. Jesus makes it clear, he didn’t come to establish a religion, he came to establish a way for sinners like me to have a relationship with God (John 3:15). Religion will send you straight to Hell. Only a relationship with Jesus can get you into Heaven (John 3:17-18).
They are judgmental
Let’s just be honest about “religious people” for a few minutes. Generally speaking, they’re not very much fun to be around. If we were honest, most of the accusations about “religious people” are true. They are very judgmental!
Religious people appear judgmental when they try to force someone else to live by their set of rules. They totally missed what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” Perhaps one of the reasons why Jesus commands people not to judge each other is because we are unable to judge the heart. Oh sure, we can see what’s happening on the outside of a person, but we have no idea what’s going on inside their heart. Jesus sees all the way to the heart level. Jesus alone weighs the human soul. Jesus has the ability to examine your spiritual condition. That makes him the only one qualified to judge another person’s faith. That’s why he calls himself the Just Judge (John 5:30).
Don’t try to judge what’s happening inside a man or a woman by the way that they act on the outside. You’re not qualified. Only Jesus is capable of that kind of judgment. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t like being around judgmental people.
They are unhappy
Here’s the second reason. Most of the “religious people” that I know appear miserable! You can see it on their face, you can hear it in their words, they just seem downright unhappy. When possible I try to ask them, “Why do you practice a religion that makes your life more miserable? It seems to me, investing this much of effort into religion should make your life better. It should lead to happiness. But you appear miserable.”
Maybe they’re miserable because these “religious people” are trying to force their way of life on other people. They get mad when other people don’t live the way “religious people” want them to. They are trying to force their rules on other people like the Pharisees in the Bible (Matthew 23:2-4). They were miserable and wanted everyone else around them to be miserable too!
Passionate followers of Jesus appear happy in the Bible. They find joy even in the midst of suffering. They are able to find peace in the midst of persecution. I believe this joy comes from freedom from sin and freedom from their selfishness. Jesus came to set people free (John 8:36). Free people are generally happy people. Slaves are usually miserable (John 8:34).
They don’t act like Jesus
Perhaps the thing I dislike most about religious people…they don’t act very much like Jesus. He loved to have a good time (Matthew 11:19). Jesus enjoyed hanging around people who loved to have a good time. He found his source of joy in his relationship with his Father… and his joy spread to all his followers (John 15:10-11).
I want to spend my time around happy people. I want to spend my time around people who are free in Jesus (John 17:13). I want to associate with people who have a deep walk with Jesus and it affects every area of their life. I don’t like hanging around with people who just follow some religious rules one day a week and then appear miserable the rest of the week. How about you?