Whitewashed Christianity

| April 17, 2017

whitewashed christianity

I walked into church Easter morning feeling more like a whitewashed tomb than a temple of the Living God.

Have you ever felt like that?

Pretty on the outside, but just full of junk on the inside?

It seems like the older I get, the less I enjoy holidays. Going to church on Sunday is just what we do. It felt pretty normal. Sure, we ate breakfast with our church family, and the kids had an egg hunt. Our pastor preached about the resurrection. But all in all, it felt like a pretty normal day.

Which made me feel even worse on the inside.

I looked around and saw all the people in their beautiful Easter clothes and wondered how many felt the same way I did. I wondered if I was the only one who had failed to stand in awe and celebrate deep within my soul.

This was the day we celebrated the cornerstone of our faith. Jesus died for our sins, but He didn’t stop there. He rose to give us new life.

And yet, my mind was a million different places.

I believe the message of Easter to the very core of my being, but sometimes life is hard. It weighs on me. I let the stress of it pollute my soul.

But that’s why I am so thankful for the message of Easter.

The Message of Easter

Even while I was sitting in church feeling like a whitewashed tomb, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the only tomb that really matters is the tomb of Jesus. And while my tomb might be full of decay, His was found empty.

Jesus died because He knew we would never be perfect. He died because He knew we could never live a life free from sin. Because the wages of sin is death, He died because He knew we would need a Savior.

And then He rose.

He rose so we could live. So we could be free from the chains of sin. So that we could have a life full of hope.

Jesus died and rose for us. For me and for you.

His death and resurrection aren’t dependent on our feelings, they are unchanging facts. He is a rock that isn’t swayed when we have bad days. When we get stressed out, He remains the same.

That’s the message I needed reminded of Easter morning.Easter isn't a feeling, it's a fact.

I needed reminded that even when I’m feeling whitewashed, the truth of the gospel doesn’t change.

Whitewashed Christianity

Christians aren’t perfect. I tend to be brutally honest about my failures because I don’t want to be whitewashed. I don’t want someone to look at me and think I have it all together, because the truth of it is that I get through most days each day by the grace of God.

While I might manage to dress up in high heels and make it to church on time (sometimes), those things aren’t what make me a Christian. We can’t put on a “good Christian” mask or slip on “Christianity shoes” and be okay. True Christianity comes from the cross.

Romans 10:9 (ESV) says, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

That’s what Christianity is about. It’s not about having a good day every day. It’s not about celebrating Easter on a certain day in a specific way. Christianity isn’t about wearing the right clothes, saying the right words, or doing the right things. It’s about Jesus.

One Important Difference

I guess I’m learning that the world is full of whitewashed Christians. But they are firmly separated into two different groups. Those that look like Christians on the outside, but have hearts that are far from Jesus. And those who look like Christians on the outside, but are still dealing with a bunch of junk on the inside, even though they are head over heels in love with Jesus.

One type of whitewashed Christianity will lead to Hell, the other is probably more common than we know. Both types of Christians need Jesus, whether they realize it or not.

So while I didn’t “feel” like I celebrated Easter well this year, I can rest well knowing the gospel remains the same. My feelings don’t dictate reality.

He is risen.

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33 Comments

  • Reply Amy Christensen April 17, 2017 at 11:07 am

    I know what you mean Heather! I had a really bad day on Saturday and on Sunday it was very hard to focus on what the day was all about. But God is so faithful. He knows our frame and knows our struggles and doubts. We don’t have to pretend with Him. He already gets us! Thanks for being honest. It always helps to know we are not alone.

  • Reply Laura Rath April 17, 2017 at 11:38 am

    Oh my, Heather, this is just how I’ve been feeling! I tried writing about it last week, but decided it was more for me to process, than to post. I wasn’t feeling Easter-y, like the ads for new spring dresses and shoes portray. But feeling Easter-y in the empty tomb way is what matters. Not sure I’m successfully getting my thoughts into words here, but love your post! Thank you for sharing!
    Laura Rath recently posted…God’s Healing Through a SongMy Profile

  • Reply Andrea April 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    I think sometimes everybody goes thru times like that

    • Reply Heather Hart April 17, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      I think you’re right, Andrea. Probably more often than we’d like to admit.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Candid MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Erin Crissman April 17, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    I love what you said about honesty and people thinking more than what is the reality! But the beauty is that no one has it all together and we all have to survive on the grace of Jesus! Great post!

  • Reply Jaime Hampton April 17, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    “Easter isn’t a feeling…it’s a fact.”
    I so love this! Thank you for this post, Heather.
    Jaime Hampton recently posted…Giving Thanks for the ThornMy Profile

  • Reply Terri April 17, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Been there done that.

  • Reply Sheila Qualls April 17, 2017 at 8:39 pm

    How honest. Thanks. “Easter isn’t a feeling; it’s a fact.” Too many times I get caught up in the harriedness of the day and overlook the importance of it. Like Christmas, it becomes a do-to list and not a true celebration. I kind of felt the same way this year. We moved Easter week, 3 of our kids weren’t home. It didn’t feel “Eastery.” I, too, am thankful my feelings don’t dictate reality.

  • Reply Robbie @ Use Resources Wisely April 18, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    I am so grateful that even on the tough days we can just be. I was worried because my son was ina funk and my husband in pain but really we were all together at church for the first time in a long time and perhaps a seed was planted that day
    Robbie @ Use Resources Wisely recently posted…Bridging to Adult Girl Scouts CeremonyMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart April 20, 2017 at 7:59 am

      It can be so hard for us moms to let go and just be, can’t it? So thankful Jesus gets us.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gospel MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Kristi April 19, 2017 at 12:29 am

    I have had Easter moments like that and am so thankful that our love for Christ isn’t based on feelings!
    Kristi recently posted…Change Your Day by Blessing God!My Profile

  • Reply Jenna April 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Heather, thank you for being bold enough to preach this message! It reminds me of the book Not A Fan. So many people think Christianity is following a set of rituals, like you mentioned above, when the Bible tells us it means our death and–through Christ–our resurrection. Easter is SO full of powerful reminders, and it’s encouraging to be reminded that it is not a light thing. I found you on the Women 2 Women linkup! 🙂

  • Reply Debbie Wilson April 19, 2017 at 10:51 am

    “Easter isn’t a feeling. It’s a fact.” Amen. We walk by faith and not by sight. Thank you, Heather, for your candid thoughts.
    Debbie Wilson recently posted…The Remarkable Benefits of Knowing These 6 Names of GodMy Profile

  • Reply Lo Tanner | lotanner.com April 19, 2017 at 11:03 am

    I think every Christian carries a little bit of brokenness with them. It’s what keeps us compassionate and lets God’s grace, mercy, and strength speak through our lives.
    Lo Tanner | lotanner.com recently posted…20 Ways to Bless Your Mom On Mother’s DayMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart April 20, 2017 at 8:04 am

      Yes! I think we need to be broken to remember the importance of the gospel. If we start to think we have it all together, we’ll start to think we can do it all on our own.
      Heather Hart recently posted…When The Gospel Isn’t Good NewsMy Profile

  • Reply Tracy April 19, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Heather, your question about being more a whitewashed tomb than a temple of the Living God really struck home with me. Just as Jesus cleansed the temple and removed the money changers, so I need to do the same. I need to make a place for my God to inhabit if I want to know Him personally. I want Him to have a place that is clean, yet it is He who does the cleaning. It is I who must submit to the process. Thank you for a word picture I can hang on to.

    • Reply Heather Hart April 20, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Thank you, Tracy, for your encouragement. It’s so important to let Jesus be the “house cleaner” of our heart. I love THAT word picture.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gospel MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Becky Hastings April 21, 2017 at 6:37 am

    It’s so easy to feel this way, isn’t it Heather? I’ve been in church and looked around me wondering how these people were feeling so much when I felt nothing. I understood. I believed. But church had become another thing on my to-do list (and Lord knows I didn’t need one more thing on that list!)

    I don’t have a neat, pretty answer to this one. I think telling God those feelings and just pressing in anyway. Waiting for the feelings to catch up. Telling God how much I need Him to meet me in that place. And sometimes it’s over and over again.

    So glad to share hearts here <3

    • Reply Heather Hart April 21, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Thanks, Becky. Sometimes it helps just knowing we aren’t alone. That, and remembering that facts are more important than feelings. Feelings come and go, but what Jesus did for us is eternal.
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gospel MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Aimee Imbeau April 27, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I’ve had people tell me that “I have it all together” – and it’s not that I am trying to portray that facade at all – but I think that this is just another reason why we need to share our stories of faith with others. Then they can see what we’ve been through to get where we are. And that we should not just assume things about people…
    Thanks for sharing on Grace and Truth – always a joy to read your content.
    Aimee Imbeau recently posted…What I Found At His FeetMy Profile

    • Reply Heather Hart April 27, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      I actually hear that comment from people more often than you would think, and it’s funny, because I don’t feel like that at all. But it’s definetly a good way to point people to Jesus. Thanks for stopping in, Aimee – love your link up!
      Heather Hart recently posted…Gospel MomentsMy Profile

  • Reply Ivy May 25, 2017 at 7:50 am

    Love that: “my feelings don’t dictate reality”.

  • Reply Heather June 2, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    Remembering the messages of the scriptures really does offer a lot of perspective during these vulnerable moments. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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