Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pure Religion

I know that lately most of my posts have been religious ones, so I apologize to my regular readers who aren't religious, but this has been the state of my brain lately.

I was recently asked to teach the adult Sunday School class in our church. I have had alot of experience teaching in the church, and I enjoy teaching, so this is a good position for me. Today I am teaching about a scripture in James 1:27 that says, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

I will admit that this is probably the hardest test for a religious person. We believe in our religions, but do we live what we believe? My religion has what might be considered by some as a strict code for living. I think most people in my religion don't have much problem with the big things. But the part that gets difficult for us as humans is living our religion all the time.

Because of the publicity our church has received since Mitt Romney has been running for president, I worry even more about what kind of an example I am of our religion. For example, our religion teaches us that smoking, illegal drugs, and drinking coffee, tea, and alcohol isn't good for you. That is something I don't have a problem with. We are taught that adultery and premarital sex are wrong. No problem, that makes sense to me. We are taught to observe the Sabbath; don't shop, don't work, don't do worldly things on that day. I can handle that, I like that vacation once a week from the world. What I worry about are things like yelling at my kids when I'm mad, or saying something to someone in anger, or gossiping. Am I living "pure religion"?

What I really believe is that religion is hard for everyone to live, even the believers. There is this struggle between what we know to be right, and the innate tendencies within us. (the scriptures refer to this as the "natural man") While I know that getting angry isn't "Christ-like", I still haven't mastered the ability to control my anger. And although I know that gossiping is harmful to others, sometimes my mouth "runneth over" and I don't control it like I should.

I was talking with someone in our church once about this issue. I told them that I worried about what kind of example I set for our religion. I told them that my friends and acquaintances will probably never think highly of our religion because of the way I act. He said to me, "Just ask them what they think you would be like if you didn't have your religion." I think this is a good point. I'm still a work in progress. I'm still trying to learn to control the beast within. I hope that my friends and acquaintances will be patient with me in the process.

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