I met one of my absolute best friends the summer going into grade 5, at the ball field. If you know my life at all, it really centers around gymnastics and baseball and this is really where I met many of my close friends. This particular friend was the same age as me, and our fathers played ball against one another. We hung out all summer and then come the fall, we turned out to be in the same homeroom class.
This friendship is still holding strong and she is my rock. I have a bond with her that is strengthened by God, and I am very thankful for her and all her tremendous attributes. She is the most amazing person I know. She is everything that the bible verse, Galatians 5:22-23 is. Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. She’s incredible!
We are however not the same denomination and her beliefs and mine don’t always line up. She is very black and white when it comes to the scripture, and myself, I like to look for the deeper meaning and also think that God is not the judging God that her religion feels that he is. To me if you are a good person, living in God’s word the best you can, he is going to be his loving self. Nobody has all the answers, we all sin and we try to better ourselves. That’s how I roll. My religion is very open-minded and I love that about it.
Her religion on the other hand is very strict and almost scares people into thinking that their way is the ONLY way to get to heaven. Maybe they are right and I am wrong, who knows. Someday I might find out from the depths of Hell, but for now, I love to think the best about everything and everyone!
During the time in my life when I had my first born child, she was my first choice to be the Godmother of my child. Her religion doesn’t believe in baptizing infants, and so she had to decline my invitation, thinking that her religion would frown upon her for being involved with such a crime as baptizing a child in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. EEEEEK!!!! Sad, right?
It was shocking at first, but I love this friend and understood her moral struggle and respected her decision. Another kind friend of mine stepped up and had no issue filling these shoes. I told my friend that I understood that her religion didn’t honor children the way mine did, and that was fine, but at the same time I did find it strange that a religion would be so judgemental of other religions beliefs. In my mind, I find it hard to call yourself a Christian, condemning other religions in this manner. In my friend’s defense, she was young and trying to be the best person for God that she could be, and I don’t blame her for that.
I loved reading the book, “Dying to be Me…My Journal From Cancer, Near Death, to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani. She is a Buddhist and she made it to heaven! Imagine! My friend’s religion might be shocked, but I’m not! There might be still hope for me to get to Heaven after all!
Studying Acts 10, I learned that God had to work in Peter’s heart and soul just like he worked in my friend’s heart and soul. God broke through to Peter and made it clear that the scripture is not just for the Jews but the Gentiles too. Acts 10:44 explains, “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.”
Years after the baptism of my first child, my friend did apologize for her decision to decline my invitation, and was very remorseful of how she was so close minded, but admitted she was trying to find her way with God. Of course I never even really thought about it after, and thought she was being silly even apologizing. This was her belief and I respected her for standing strong on her belief—I didn’t understand why, but respected none-the-less.
I’m glad that she eventually realized that God shows no favoritism, and that she recognized maybe she was being close-minded but was fearful for what God would do to her if she honored my child’s baptism. That is the great thing about finding your spirituality, and why I have a strong belief that we all have to read the bible for ourselves and not have people form our hearts to be prejudice against other people, religions, race or cultural beliefs.
During Peter’s sermon in Acts 10 he explains that Jesus is Lord of All. That includes denominations that baptize their babies; that includes different cultures that might have multiple gods they pray to; that includes the other religions who may pray to saints and other people of the Bible! It’s a crazy way of thinking but being open to the fact that Jesus is Lord of All and loves us all isn’t going to hurt anyone. We are instructed to love our neighbors, even if they baptize their babies, or do something else you might find is not in your belief system.
Rip the layers of prejudice off your heart and open it up to see how big our God really is and how much love he has to spread around!