I discovered a really good word that helps describe an issue that impacts everyone. It also helps explain what I mean every time I say "I hate religion" or "I am not religious"...
The word is: RELIGIONISM. It is an actual word, showing up in various dictionaries now!
This word entails so much: i.e., What I call "the religious system." Pharisee spirit... Elitism... Disqualifying, critical, judgmental, fault-finding, condescending, self-righteous, legalistic, based on dead works, religious silencing, man-pleasing, poverty-minded, controlling, manipulating, punishing, dumbing-down and MISREPRESENTING GOD!
Religionism. It makes otherwise normal people mean. They become obsessed with everyone else’s choices and behavior.
It causes false responsibility, shame, blame, condemnation, inability to EVER measure up... It drives people away from the Lord. It's actually a form of ABUSE which dishonors and disrespects the work of God in other people's hearts, and their ability to hear from Him.
It places heavy burdens on people's shoulders, but doesn't lift a finger to help them. Even when they stumble under the weight of it. It tells them they'll never be quite good enough, never quite "worthy" enough to receive anything from God.
As if Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross was not enough. As if His blood didn't quite pay the price. As if "it is finished..." doesn't really mean it IS.
RELIGIONISM leads people to believe they still deserve punishment of some kind... for something. It accuses them of having No Faith, and in the process creates Fear in their hearts.
It is a bottomless pit of demand that no human being on this planet can EVER live up to. It believes it is entitled to sit in judgment, correct and improve people, as if it's doing God a favor... Because of its warped world-view, it believes God is incapable of leading others by His Spirit… Not without their help. Therefore it feels quite comfortable usurping God's place and mistreating people in the name of the Lord.
And Jesus NEVER, EVER meant for His Kingdom to be represented this way. It breaks His heart. Countless Christians... followers of JESUS... are deceived and caught up in the twisted world of Religionism.
RELIGIONISM is Love-less. It is proud. Fear driven. And brutal. It decides what is "sin" and what isn't, for everyone else. (Often those rules don't apply to the Religionism pro.) Religionism is very "sin conscious." Because everything in their world is about sin. Especially other people’s sin. It believes people ought to be punished for every sin. It will leave no stone unturned, as it insists everyone jump on the latest bandwagon or the latest "witch hunt" within the church world.
IT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF GRACE.
And the worst part of all... Precious human beings are in hell today because of Religionism. And it continues... In fact, you could say it's "hell-bent" on sending as many people to hell as possible. Does that tell you who's at the root of Religionism?
Forty years ago, Mike & I were called to preach Grace. And THIS IS WHY. This is the major adversary of Grace.
GRACE SEEKS TO SET THE CAPTIVES FREE.... Not only from sin, but from Religionism!
Jesus says, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” "Whom the Son sets free is free indeed." “I came that they might have Life and that more abundantly.”
God did not send Jesus into the world to condemn the world. (John 3:17)
May you personally find the freedom your heart longs for. May you know the Truth about Religionism, so that you may be set free from it. Free to Love. Free to Live. Free to worship the Lord. Free to breathe. FREE TO BE.
May you experience the authentic unconditional Love of God for yourself. May you LIVE in the freedom and heart-peace of His loving Grace all the days of your life. May you remove your "religious glasses" and see God's Word through the loving heart of your Heavenly Father.
You are Loved beyond your capacity to comprehend it. Jesus' death and resurrection really DID pay it all.
May you know and believe the LOVE God has for you. You are always on His heart and mind. And He never wants you - or anyone else - to be damaged by Religionism.
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