Nobody Needs Your Religion
(By Stan Buckley, Edited)

Nobody needs your religion. It's true. Nobody needs your religion. Nobody. And they never have. The people of Jesus' day did not need any more religion. There was plenty around but it wasn't what they needed. The blind and the deaf and the sinful and the leprous and the demon-possessed and the crippled and the prostitutes and the swindlers - the outcasts of society - did not need man's religion.

Becoming religious would not have given them sight or hearing or forgiveness or clean bodies or sanity or working legs or a new life or a second chance. If they had only become religious, they would have been merely blind people who were religious, deaf people who were religious, sinful people who were religious, leprous people who were religious, demon-possessed people who were religious, crippled people who were religious, prostitutes who were religious, swindlers who were religious.

They didn't need religion. They needed Jesus. They needed His presence and His power and His love. They needed Him. And when they experienced Him, everything changed.

How often today do we Christ-followers offer our religion to a hurting and hopeless world? We offer them our organization and our morals and our culture and our way of doing things. We offer them our traditions and our songs and our styles. We offer them our denominations and our organizational charts and our complexities and our list of religious things to do and to not do. And some of them accept our offer. But at the end of the day they are still blind and deaf and sinful and leprous and demon-possessed and crippled.

What if, instead of offering our religion, we offered them Jesus? What if we introduced them to the One who could give them sight and hearing and forgiveness? What if we introduced them to the One who could give them the abundant life today and eternal life that begins now and goes forever? It seems that the offer of Jesus would be so much more valuable, infinitely more valuable, than the offer of our religion: you know, our rules made by men; our organizations; our stones tied around the necks of lost and hopeless people.

And what if they embraced Jesus and after that we still refused to entangle them in our religion? What if, instead of trying to turn them into good religious people, we just kept teaching them about Jesus? What if we helped them to become not better religious people but better disciples of this Jesus?

What if this Jesus was the primary topic of conversation in our churches and our small groups and our Bible studies and all of our religious gatherings, both formal and informal? What if we talked more about this Jesus than we talked about our religion, our organizations, our denominations, our structures, our power struggles, who we are for and who we are against, and all the other things that, if we were finally honest, we would admit take up the vast majority of our time and our energy and our conversations, but have little or nothing to do with Jesus?

It's true. Nobody needs your religion. But they sure could use your Jesus.

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