What does it mean to be Born Again
Born Again and Baptism
My religious upbringing taught me this principle. At an early age I learned that if I did not accept Jesus, give up my sinful ways and be baptised, I would surely burn in hell. Well to use the term literally it scared the Hell out of me.
At the age of twelve I can't truly say that I had done much that I needed to be saved from but I decided just to be on the safe side I should get baptised. I allowed myself to be immersed in the biptismal pool and prayed over. I was pronounced "Born Again" and told to go and sin no more. This was not followed up with any special instruction or attention.
Well by the age of 16 I learned what it meant to be sinful and my baptism went by the wayside in favor of my libidinal appetites.
It occured to me years later that at the age of twelve I had no idea what it meant to be sinful and much less to be "Born Again". What rational adults thought they were doing by allowing me to be baptised without a proper understanding and some instruction, I have no idea.
Overzealous Christians Often Do More Harm Than Good
Do not those who call themselves Christians have a responsibility to look first to their own spiritual walk before they attempt to save others from a life of so called Sin. In an effort to be a "Good Christian" much harm can be done and good intentions may in fact drive a person who is in emotional distress to a life of doubt and disbelief.
When persons who are in severe emotional distress they often are not in their right minds and are incapable of truly understanding what it means to walk with Jesus. Their dire circumstances may cause them to turn to a sudden belief in God and they may even believe they have been saved from their life of pain and suffering for a time.
Inevitably one must go through yet more suffering and one who does not have a firm grasp on what it is to have a relationship with the Lord may become dissilusioned.
Christianity as a Quick Fix
When we first begin our relationship with God it is a very moving experience. One who has gone through much suffering may often see this as a way to escape a life that is no longer bearable. For a time this does seem to be what has happened. Like the newly married however the Honeymoon must come to an end.
Suffering in life is inescapable and when one becomes a Christian for these reasons, simply because they no longer wish to suffer, they can convince themselves that they are true believers and are changed individuals.
In life we all must face loss. A loved one dies, we have financial setback, serious illness occurs, etc; We cannot escape pain and suffering, much as we try to forget it exists. If we begin our relationship with God believing that he will not allow bad things to happen to us, we are setting ourselves up for a fall.
We must face the reality of impermanence and not simply accept it but be conscious of this aspect of our lives with every breath before we can find peace. As long as we persist in trying to block out and resist pain in our lives we can not keep our hearts open to the healing love of God. God does not bring us suffering or allow it. Suffering as well as joy is inevitable as long as we are in human form. We must give up our human form before it ends.
To Be Truly Born Again
Being Born Again truly means that we must die moment by moment to our old ways and with each new breath become reborn as a new being with God. This is the only way to find the true peace of God. This is a day by day, moment by moment process. It is not something one does on Sunday and then puts aside until next week. We cannot expect in this lifetime to ever be perfect but we must be conscious of our action as much as our stage of awareness will allow.
If our hearts desire is that with each moment we are walking closer and closer to God. If we can see God in the face of our neighbor and accept them without judgement, I believe we are headed in the right direction toward being finally "Born Again".