What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

I have been a huge part of my church for 6 years. I go to youth group, teach kids camp, and go even though my parents don’t. Recently I have noticed a lot of people in my church pushing anti-gay and pro-life opinions at us in the youth group. It has started to make me really uncomfortable! I love Jesus and God and have always had a relationship there. But I just don’t believe that It’s our jobs as Christians to make life changing choices for others. But my church says that isn’t real Christianity. I don’t know what to do! I have our big camp coming up soon and I am really nervous. Please help me.

-Anonymous

Dear Anonymous,

If you believe that it isn’t your job as a Christian to judge others or make life changing choices for them, then stick with that. You are free to believe what you want and so are they. Defining Christianity is something people have argued about throughout the ages. There are so many different Christian denominations, some which are extremely against abortion and are anti-gay or against gay marriage, while others accept everyone and let the choice of abortion be up to the individuals because they don’t think it’s their place to judge. There are a range of churches, from Kansas’s Westboro Baptist Church to California’s Glide Memorial Church. All of them firmly believe in their church’s mission and values. To be a part of a religious organization means you believe in their core principles too, but it’s okay to ask questions and have differences of opinion–as long as you feel like you are still respected, as are your values and beliefs.

In terms of how you should deal with the people in your church, youth group, and church camp, try to take what you can but leave the rest. If their message is about love and living with strong values and morals then hold onto that, but when it comes to the parts you disagree with, tell yourself that they have their beliefs and you have yours. You don’t have to all agree on every aspect of it in order to come together to celebrate your faith. However, if you find yourself getting more uncomfortable or feeling repeatedly pressured to conform to what they believe when it comes to political topics, consider trying out another church just to see what’s out there. There’s nothing wrong with exploring your options because faith and a set of beliefs are very personal matters. What we believe and take comfort in is often shaped by our experiences and by who we are and who we want to be. Some people take comfort in the values of a specific religion, while others find it gives them purpose, hope, guidance, structure, or a sense of power (for better or worse). Ultimately, it’s up to you and you alone to decide what you believe about everything, including highly debated topics. 

MLK quote

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2 thoughts on “What Does it Mean to be a Christian?

  1. Hi fellow teen! I too have at times been uncomfortable about different subjects like worship style or what music as a Christian we should listen too, as I spend time with different believers. But I think the biggest thing you said is that you “Love God!” 🙂 Follow that love and dive into the Lord’s Word and let His Word be the transformation in you. Test every spirit, even test your own (which honestly is hard to do) and seek His truth and just know there are other teens who are doing just the same 🙂 praying for you my friend!
    If your ever interested I have a blog about growing up as a Christian teen here: arischwieters@gmail.com

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