So, today I did something that was more difficult than I thought. Today, I unsubscribed to a youtube channel. Now listen, I know, I know, that doesn’t seem like a big deal and in the grand scheme of things it really isn’t but please at least hear me out.
I have been subscribed to this youtube channel for about 6 years, watched every single day, watched EVERY episode, every after-show, listened to its related podcasts, and yes, even bought their merch. If you were to ask me why the answer would have been simple. It was clean, family-friendly, funny, and just made me feel good. It has become my favorite thing to watch and re-watch, my daughter watches it with me and we laugh together. This show has made me smile a lot and been a constant in my life in some pretty difficult times. I know it sounds dumb and as I’m writing this it is odd to me that I’m saying all of this about a YOUTUBE channel… but it’s true. I’m not someone who deals with change well and I love to have something that is “normal” and “unchanging”.
At the beginning of this channel, it quickly became clear to us that the hosts of this show had some kind of Christian background. They never really openly talked about their faith, which I didn’t love, but wasn’t really the reason I was watching them. Out of curiosity I looked into them a little more and found that they had been pretty involved in their church and when I say “pretty involved” I mean REALLY involved. They lead worship, preached, served on missions teams, and even with Campus Crusaders They were IN! Even though their content wasn’t “Christian” it was clear that they were. Knowing that made me like the show even more.
You know that phrase “nothing lasts forever” well this was no exception.
Over the past few years, I have started to notice a little bit of change in them. The show slowly became cruder and less “family-friendly”. I didn’t like these things about it but I justified it by saying things to myself like, “they don’t do it often, it’s not that bad, they censor certain words if they ever use them, it’s fine”.
It wasn’t until the beginning of this year that it finally made sense why their show had followed this pattern. The hosts came out publicly about their religious “deconstruction”. In a roundabout way they explained how they had decided to not believe in the teachings of Jesus and had decided that, for the sake of “love” for humanity, they just couldn’t believe the way they had for so many years. To be honest this absolutely broke my heart. I had watched this channel for so long that I started to feel like I knew these people. They were, and still are, good people and it really hurts my soul to see the devil lead people away from the Jesus I know, especially when it’s because they believe the LIE the world tells, that God isn’t good.
It breaks my heart to see people get confused about who Jesus actually is. More often than I want to admit, I see people choose to walk away from their faith because they are misguided and though they “think” they know Jesus it’s clear their understanding is off.
At some point along the way, they began to compromise their morals for the culture that surrounded them.
I say, they, but really we all struggle with this. We get confused about who Jesus is, how He would have acted in certain situations, and how He did ministry. The devil is really good at convincing us that God isn’t good and doesn’t have our best interest at heart. He’s really convincing at making us think that we are being judgmental or legalistic when our thoughts and actions line up with what scripture says.
As followers of Jesus, we are called to love people and engage with people. Yes, even people who aren’t Christian. We are called to do that because we want to be the face of the Kingdom, here. The problem is we often surround ourselves with culture and we allow the world to shape our beliefs and morals instead of allowing scripture to do it. If we are doing ministry correctly we make relationships with people we truly care about and then begin to feel bad because their lifestyle doesn’t line up with what the bible says it should be. By then we find ourselves in situations of internal conflict.
Should we still spend time with them? Should we convince them that the way they are living is wrong? Should we tell them they are going to hell if they don’t change? Then we begin to question why God would allow “good people” to struggle the way they do. How could a “good” God not see that this “love” is just “love”. And isn’t God love? If He is “love” then surely this lifestyle isn’t THAT wrong… Maybe my belief or understanding is wrong… See, it was easy to get there! And what the devil did in the middle of all that confusion was tell the same lie he has been telling since the beginning of creation. He warped the meaning of LOVE and convinced us that what God said wasn’t true and that “this fruit is so good for you.”
Our job as Jesus followers is to recognize what just happened for what it is.
A LIE and manipulation!
We can’t do that if we are willing to compromise our morals and standard for the world.
We need to walk so closely to Jesus and His teaching that we aren’t wavered when we are surrounded by culture. The way we do that is by being in scripture. Know what the bible actually says. Read it for yourself. Talk to God by and for yourself. Don’t just rely on the teachings of other people and their interpretations. Know it for YOURSELF. Build a relationship with Jesus because you talk to Him and study Him. Go to church! Surround yourselves with like-minded, Jesus following, people. Ask questions, YES, it’s ok, I promise! Serve people! LOVE people!
Jesus was sent to this earth for us to be in relationship and communion with people, not so that we could judge others, not so we could “love the sinner and hate the sin” but so that we could SEE how to love people and even ourselves in spite of our sin! Jesus came to this broken world to give us a way to have a real relationship with God Himself!
The invitation is yours! It’s always been yours and it will always be yours.
We just have to be willing to accept it!
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