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What's Wrong With Christians?

One of the best ways I’ve found to keep my sanity during this crisis is by going to a small chapel down the street each day to pray.  This daily “dose” of solitude has been absolutely amazing.

Good Friday is my favorite worship service of the year. I love the Good Friday liturgy. But this year, there obviously wasn’t going to be any Good Friday service, at least not in person. Everything was being done virtually. So, this Good Friday I decided to go to the chapel for a “special solitude session” focused on the Crucifixion, focused on the stunning grace, love, and mercy God poured out on the Cross for us.

About twenty minutes into it, I was lost in deep contemplation, completely swept away by the astounding mystery of God’s love—that He would die on that Cross for us, for us sinners. It was awesome. As I was experiencing this quasi-mystical union with God, a man suddenly entered the lobby to the chapel talking LOUDLY on his cell phone. (From the chapel, you can hear everything that happens in the lobby.)

Now, mind you, Good Friday was a beautiful, sunny day, at least around here. He could have easily finished his phone conversation in the parking lot. But, no, he decided to come into the lobby, interrupting anyone—namely me—praying in the chapel. Totally oblivious, he completely disturbed my contemplative mood. He was there to pray himself, which he eventually did, for a whole two minutes before leaving! But before coming in to pray, he was talking so loudly that I was forced to hear every word he said. He was going on and on for over five minutes about what “idiots” other people were, especially what idiots other drivers around here are.

Since COVID-19 hit, people have been crowding onto the many (narrow) roads for their daily exercise. As a result, cars coming in opposite directions are often forced to yield the right of way to one another. Being such a nice day, many walkers, runners, and bikers were out and about on Good Friday. Apparently, someone came head-on into his lane and nearly hit him. Then they either gave him the finger or waved high. He couldn’t tell which, but it didn’t matter. Either way, he kept emphasizing that HE had the right of way. He was irate they would dare come into HIS lane.
With my contemplative mood completely ruined, all I could think about was how much this “Christian” didn’t get it. How much he didn’t get the Cross. What Jesus is all about. Then I mused: This is why Christianity gets such a bad rap—Christians! Christians like this “idiot” who are so inconsiderate, insensitive, arrogant, judgment….al. Oh. Then it dawned on me—that’s exactly what I’m doing to him. I looked up at the cross and it hit me like a ton of bricks. Jesus died for MY sins too. That’s what it’s all about.

What’s wrong with Christians? We’re such a mess. Oh, I could show you statistics that reveal the difference faith makes in moral and charitable behavior. For example, prominent sociologist of religion Rodney Stark has written a great little book called America’s Blessing which outlines the statistically significant difference faith makes in these areas and more. Other examples abound.

Still, this just makes Christians better than average. Not good. And certainly not perfect. We Christians are still a mess.

But this is besides the point. We’re not Christian because we have everything figured out. We’re not Christian because we’re perfect people. We’re not Christian because we’re good. No, we’re Christian because we don’t have things figured out. We’re Christian because we’re not perfect. We’re Christian because we know we aren’t good.

We’re Christian because we know what a mess we are and how desperately we need a savior. And this is what Christianity is all about—acknowledging our need for God, for Him to pour out His love—the love He poured out on the Cross—into our hearts and save us. Yes, as the statistics bear out, this will make you a significantly better person than you were—this process, called sanctification, is usually slow and gradual. But that’s the effect, not the essence, of Christianity.

There’s a great scene in Mark 2:15-17 where Jesus is eating dinner at Levi the tax collector’s house. Jesus’ contemporaries considered tax collectors the worst of sinners—it’s a long story I won’t go into why. Jesus is surrounded by Levi’s friends, also sinners, when some religious leaders confront Jesus about being such a friend to sinners—sharing a meal was the ultimate sign of friendship and unity in that culture. Jesus’ response is priceless: “Healthy people don’t need a doctor; sick people do. I didn’t come to call the righteous. I came to call sinners.”

Look around. We’re all a mess. Our world is a mess. It’s actually a flaming mess right now! Each and every one of us desperately needs a savior.

And all we need to do for Jesus to save us is to admit what a mess we are!

Then He will pour His love into our hearts. And that changes everything.

So, what impression do you have of Christians? Is it good or bad? I’d love to hear your experiences, stories, and thoughts. You can go to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leave your comments there. I pray that no matter how much of a mess you’ve made of life, you will know that He loves you unconditionally, and wants nothing more than to save you!

 

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

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