One massive issue that so many of us who have deconstructed struggle with is the question, “what is allowed for me?”
Many of us have spent a lifetime being told what the lines were for us. We were allowed to believe this, not that. We were allowed to do this, not that. Boundaries were tightly enforced and we were taught that this was God’s will for us. And when our emotions told us that there was something wrong with the boundaries placed upon us, we were told that the heart is deceitful above all things, and that we could not trust our own feelings. We were explicitly taught that we could only trust what our pastors and leaders told us. Our minds were too tainted by original sin to be able to rely on our own understanding. Yet, somehow, the pastors and celebrity teachers/preachers we were encouraged to learn from seemed to be exempt from the fallible nature afflicted upon the rest of us. If they said it, we could trust it.
But then we deconstructed. We stopped trusting those leaders, because we saw for ourselves how their truths and answers fell flat. We saw their hypocrisy. We saw their double standards. We saw them put their own agendas before the gospel. We saw their White supremacy and toxicity. We knew that God did not require us to learn from men who would not be held accountable for their sins.
We knew these weren’t the leaders for us.
“So, what next?” we asked ourselves. Were there others who could lead us? People who were safe? Would we dare entrust our souls to new authority figures? What if they abuse their power too?
This is where we need to stop and reframe.
God has not asked us to submit to any mediator save for Christ.
We are enough.
We do not need a spiritual authority figure telling us what God requires of us. We already know what God requires of us:
Love. This is what God requires of us.
At the end of our lives, there will be no test of our doctrinal knowledge, because knowledge does not save. If it did, it would be a gospel of works. We can never learn enough to save our own souls.
At the end of our lives, there will be no test of our emotional, physical, or sexual purity. Purity does not save. If it did, it would be a gospel of works.
We will not be judged by the Bible translation we chose or the church we attend. There will be no attendance records to check
We will not be judged because we voted for the “right” party or supported the right political movements.
At the end of our lives, God will only be concerned with one question: Did we love?
Did we love the sinner? Not seeking to legislate in ways to control their lives. Not loving in spite of the sin we percieve, but because they are a human being created in the image of God and therefore inherently worthy of being loved.
Did we love our enemies? Not seeking vengeance for the wrongs committed against us. But just love because they are created in the image of God and are inherently worthy of being loved. This can be a hard one. I’m not going to lie.
Did we love the hungry and the alienated? Did we believe them when they told us they were in pain? Did we give them safe space to heal? Did we give them food to eat? Did we give them clothing and blankets to cover their nakedness in the dead of winter?
Did we love?
Nothing else matters if we do not have love.
Friends, you can trust your God-given instincts. Love your partner, even if someone else calls it sin. Love yourself. Choose where you want to worship. Choose if corporate worship is right for you. Choose the music you listen to, the books you read, the movies you watch. Choose what you want to wear or how you want to style your hair. Choose the pronouns that feel right for God when you talk with Her. Use the pronouns that are right for you.
No one else can guide you. This is your ship. Steer it well and always with love as your guiding compass.