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Growing up Christian in Today's Society

Growing up Christian in Today's Society

I am a Christian. It’s a simple fact. It’s like saying I have brown eyes. It’s something about me, something that defines me. The thing is, in today’s society, it’s more than that. To many people, it becomes a label.

Suddenly I’m a homophobe.
Suddenly I’m conservative.
Suddenly I’m a goody-two-shoes.
Suddenly I’m a prude.
Suddenly I disapprove of feminists.
Suddenly I’m judgmental.
Suddenly I’m hypocritical.
Suddenly I’m self-righteous.
Suddenly I’m an idiot.
Suddenly I’m hateful.
Suddenly I’m so many things. But I’m not.

I don’t fear or hate people who aren’t straight or cis. I’m actually a centrist politically, too conservative for the liberals and too liberal for the conservatives. I try to do what’s right, but why should that be a bad thing? I’m saving myself for marriage, but how does that affect anyone else? I don’t disapprove of feminists. I am a feminist!

I’m not perfect. I screw up. Sometimes I judge, but I try not to. Sometimes I’m hypocritical, but it doesn’t define me. Sometimes I have low self-esteem and struggle with self-hate. I’m human.

I am 17 and attend a local college. I am not an idiot, and it hurts when some people tell me the God I’ve devoted my entire life to is a big imaginary friend in the sky.
I am not hateful. Yes, there are people I don’t like. Yes, there are people I don’t get along with. But I can honestly tell you there is nobody on this planet who I hate. The closest I get to hating anyone is self-hate, and even then, I like myself a lot more than I used to.

My religion is not about hate. In Matthew 22:36-40 it says, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” My religion is about love.

To be a Christian in today’s society can be hard. People insult me. People judge me. People hate me. And it hurts. They think they know me, but they don’t. And I wish they would take the time to understand me, to know me. Because I really think everyone could get along, if they would just give it a chance.

By Mattiahu A.Z., 17

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