My Life with God

Forced Faith

Forced faith is fake faith.

I’m not referring to a modelled faith, where parents lead in faith or friends introduce others to and mentor them in faith. There can absolutely be times this process is forced in unhealthy ways, but just because a child grows up and rejects the faith in which they were raised, or a friend chooses a path that leads them away from a specific expression of faith, doesn’t mean there was manipulation. Ill-intent isn’t outside the possibilities and should always be considered, but many times, people reject faith, not based on a personal wrong, but a systemic fault, conflicting experiences, or a need to reject the past in order to step forward.

I’m referring more to a casually forced faith. And perhaps we should focus on self-reflection instead of thinking of it as the faith forced on someone else.

Sometimes spiritual discipline requires us to put forth effort even when we prefer to do otherwise. When this becomes our norm, and we put on a mask of what we believe faith should look like without taking ownership, we are in danger of forcing a faith that results in a façade. We need to do the tough work required to engage with God. So often, people reject him not because of their personal experiences and interactions with him but based on how they see others responding in their own faith. If we claim to be mature enough to make our own decisions about what we believe, we should be mature enough to own our process.

In my opinion, if you’re going to reject God, you need to authentically pursue him to make sure you’re rejecting the reality of who he is.

Rejecting church or religion isn’t the same thing as rejecting God.

Let’s narrow the focus. Perhaps you’re thinking about people who reject God through dechurching, deconstructing, or demolishing. But what about those of us who believe who God is, fight for the health of the church, and do our best to grow? How intentional are we being in our faith journey? How authentically are we engaging with God? In other words, what assumptions need to be questioned, discussed, tossed aside? What are we willing to give up in order to grow?

How consistently and completely do we empty ourselves of ourselves with a commitment to trusting God to fill those spaces and correct our misunderstandings?

It’s important. Let’s not undermine our relationship with God and minimize our influence with and from others by taking the lazy route of leaning into an inauthentic faith.

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