S.R.Claridge writes Mystery and Romantic Suspense novels. Her work has been said to have the energy of Dan Brown, the mystery of Mary Higgins Clark and the humor of Janet Evanovich. Claridge novels will take you to the edge of your seat, keep you guessing until the very end and ultimately warm your heart. It is on the pages of every S.R.Claridge novel that Mystery and Sensual Suspense collide.

For more information on bookings, interviews and upcoming releases, please visit the author website and Facebook fan page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Me...In A Nutshell

“Where does a person go to fit in when those of her own faith judge her to be too pagan and worldly?”

I saw this quote on a Facebook status the other day and it stuck with me.  Maybe it’s because it is the story of my life and the constant pondering of my soul.  You see, the greatest judgments in my life have come from those that share my faith, but do not share my religion because, as it would seem, I have none.

There is a vast difference between religion and relationship and I truly believe that God doesn’t care what religion you practice as long as you have a relationship with Him.  I believe He wants you to know Him and love Him as much as He loves you.  Does it matter if you worship the Almighty on a mountaintop or in a pew?  No.  It only matters that you worship Him.

Hate and violence stir our nation, and they stem from one source…judgment.  Mother Teresa said, “If you’re judging someone you are too busy to love them.”  There are countless verses in the Bible that speak against judging others.  The reason for this emphasis is that judgment stems from a spirit of hatefulness masked in an evangelical motive of purity labeled “God’s Agenda.”

But it is wrong.

The world may end in judgment, but the agenda of the Most High is one of love first, followed by mercy and compassion. Put your hate signs down.  Stop your condemnation of others.  If you need to point a finger go look in the mirror. Fight against the enemy, not against one another.  Who IS the enemy?  Hate is the enemy and it shows itself in the form of judgment derived from pseudo-godly arrogance and elitism.

Let me pose an odd question:  How many atheists are judging others for their beliefs or lifestyle choices? 

Now, I’m not saying I think people should become atheists.  I’m merely pointing out that somewhere along the line it seems that the "religious" people have picked up the torch of hate and have begun terrorizing the villagers and burning the towns…all in the name of God, which is ironic since God is love, not hate. 

Love is the most powerful influence in the world, and its counterpart, Hate, is the most destructive weapon known to mankind.  It starts in the heart and is fed by arrogance until it finally manifests itself in an act of violence against others.  "I'm right and you're wrong," is the foundation of judgment.  "I hold the truth and you are deceived," is the foundation of judgment.  Judgment, fed by arrogance and elitsim results in hateful actions, some of which can manifest violently.

I may not have a “religion” that those who share my faith can understand; but I have a relationship with God.  You won’t see me in church every Sunday, because quite frankly, I don’t always feel close to God while I’m in church.  You won’t find me handing out tracks, putting ‘Life’ tape over my lips or holding a sign that says ‘God hates homosexuality.’  I refuse to cast judgment on anyone else.  I'm not "right" and I don't hold a "truth" that isn't available to anyone else.  Thus, it isn’t my place to spew forth judment and frankly, I don’t want to carry the hatefulness that accompanies judgment in my heart. 

Hate destroys.  Whether you use a gun, a bomb, a knife, a rope, a sign or your words…hate brings about destruction; internal and external.  And if you are invoking judgment and destruction in the name of God or under the guise of His agenda, shame on you.  Shame, shame, shame on you.

I once had a fellow Christian scoff at me and say, “Well, how many people have you led to Christ?”  I didn’t answer, for it was none of her business.  That answer is between me and God.  I should have asked her, “How many people have you chased away from Christ with your judgmental arrogance and hateful elitism?”  That is the real question.

People of my faith don’t always like me…and I’m learning that that’s okay.  God likes me and He loves me and my faith is established in HIM alone and not the man-made, religious rules that cause damage to others.  Jesus said to love others, not judge them.  "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Would you stand in your own yard with 'Life' tape on your mouth?  Would you stand in your own yard holding a "God hates ME" sign?  Would you treat yourself the way you are treating the rest of the world who doesn't agree with you?

I might be nuts, but in the words of Gladys from the Ellen Show, “I love Jesus, but I drink a little.”  J  That’s me in a nutshell.  ~

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