Religion or Relationship?

Religion doesn't always reflect the message of God. Ross Parsley discusses the difference between practicing religion and having a personal relationship with God.

Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection

  1. What do you think of the idea that God wants a personal relationship with you?
  2. To you, what's the difference between religion and relationship? Is there a difference?

God really wants to have a personal relationship with people. So I think people in our city end up, uh, looking at, uh, God through the lens of religion and through organized, uh, corporate entities, um, maybe nonprofits— people who are trying to do good things. And the problem with that lens is trying to understand who God is through other people. I mean, we need to have spiritual conversations about this because I, I , I do think it opens up our hearts to the possibilities, but at the end of the day what God is looking for is a personal conversation with me, with each one of us. And if I could use the word "religion" in a way to kind of say a, a, a set of criteria and, that you've got to live up to or measure up to, uh, that I don't think is the message of God. Doing good things, trying to be a good person. Uh, so many people see God through the, that idea but what happens is a subtle darkness comes in if you're, if you don't do good things, then you, you really let evil grip your heart and you begin to violate other people and you don't care about doing good. Well, that ends up destroying you in one way or another. That's why we, that's why our prisons are so full of people because evil deeds just get a hold of people. It's also true on the other end of the spectrum that people who try to do good all the time and then do good, start feeling pretty good about themselves and before long, what happens is they start putting pressure on other people to do good. And that pressure to, that is exerted on other people begins to create guilt, it creates condemnation, it creates all, all these things that a personal relationship with God is not designed to create.