I’m always thinking of things to say or do that are profound and will make my friends and family think, “Wow…that’s deep.” I think you do that too. I think we all do that, especially in the Christian community...and I think it's bad. I’m a relatively young Christian and there are many things that I believe we say (to sound profound) to non-and new believers that are setting them up for disappointment. Other Christians may judge me (another topic for later) for the honesty I’m about to share and they may even question my faith. But this is what I believe we ALL struggle with and we should speak up about it and be honest. Here are some things that we Christians say that I think are just profoundi-talk.
“It’s so nice being a Christian. I just have a peace about everything, because God is in control.”
This is one that I really struggle with and can’t imagine how it impacts non-believers. I’m sorry; I’d love to have a “peace about everything,” but it just isn’t so. Don’t get me wrong. I believe God is in control and I believe things happen for a reason, but that doesn’t give me super human ability to detach myself from the harsh realities of life. I have debilitating fears. I’m sometimes nearly paralyzed at the thought of my sons’ being hurt or killed, my wife’s safety, our health, and our finances. I worry about work, my house, my parents, my sisters, LIFE. Frankly, it bothers me, even as a Christian, to hear the whole “I’m at peace with the world” comment. I’m not at peace. I’m rarely at peace. I have an understanding and will get through things because I have faith in God’s control, but that does not mean I’m at peace with seeing a father of two small children killed in a car accident on his way to work. I can get through it and watch how God uses it, but the last thing I would feel is “peace” about it. Let’s be honest and just say, “Life is hard and sometimes terrible and it really helps to be able to trust that God is in control. It’s not the way He planned the world to be, but I believe He’ll use tragedy to bring good. However, I still worry and struggle. I just TRY my best to give it to God and I do my part to help.”
“I’m not afraid of dying. I’m saved and will be going to heaven.”
Alright, I don’t know if this makes me less faithful or not, but I’m petrified of death. I thought about this on the way to work this morning. I was in traffic in Miami on the expressway and passed by a horrible accident where two people were killed. Right there! Right there in the very spot I’m passing by and the crushed cars were still there. I kept thinking, “I wonder if he was a dad? A husband?” If I had been 30 minutes earlier, it could’ve been me. Morbid thought? Not very “peaceful” thinking? Dang right! Look, I don’t believe that people are totally cool with dying. So stop saying you are. Nobody believes you. My thoughts? I’m scared. I don’t know what to expect. I am a Christian and I do believe that Jesus has taken my sins away. But, if I’m really being honest, I’d say that I’m really worried that I’m missing something. You know that feeling you get when you turn in a test and you’ve gone over it a thousand times, but you still have this terrible feeling that you forgot a section or totally failed a portion? What if I get to heaven and God says, “No…I don’t have a reservation for you. Are you sure you know Christ?” Again, I’m being as honest as I can. I fear this. Also, I think that we should be careful not to claim we know exactly what will happen when we die. We don’t. The bible isn’t crystal clear on everything (“…the dead will rise first.” has always confused me. Aren’t they there already?). I’d much rather hear Christians being honest and saying, “Death is gonna suck. Nobody wants to die. But, I believe that Jesus died so that I could be with God and once I’m in heaven, it’ll be wonderful. But again…not looking forward to the dying part.” It’s kinda like getting a shot when you were a kid. I don’t care how much candy or ice cream I’m getting after the shot…the shot still stinks.
“Oh, just pray that God shows you His plan.”
Look…God is driving this car we call life and we can’t see the road. He has told us the destination and how He wants us to act along the way and even how to interact with others during the trip. But, in terms of the which roads He’s taking, what they look like, whether or not they have pot holes and what the weather’s like…let’s just say He’s not sharing any maps. I have no clue…you hear me…NO CLUE what God has in store for me. I don’t even believe in praying that he show me His plan…cause it ain’t gonna happen. He’s the navigator, pilot and co-pilot. All He lets me see…is the rear view mirror. That’s how I know God was, and is in my life. He shows me the roads I’ve been on and I get to keep guessing on where we’re going next. That’s okay with me. I’m okay with Him driving and I think it’s cool that he reveals to me where I’m at, and where I’ve been to show me just how good a driver He is. I may hate the bumps in the road once in a while, but He’s got it on cruise and we’re making good time. So, let’s be honest with people and just say God likes to navigate and frankly…He hates backseat drivers. So, you’re not gonna know His plan until you see it in the rearview.
The reason for this post is that I have been thinking a lot about Christian straight talk. Just say how you really feel and not how your dad, pastor or priest might say it. Don’t speak in King James and don’t act like you have it all figured out, 'cause I don’t buy it and neither will seekers. Being a Christian doesn’t give you super-human uderstanding of the world, amazing wisdom, keen insight into life and death, or clairvoyance. It doesn’t make us better or smarter than anyone else. The only difference is that we’ve accepted the grace and mercy of Christ, which we need because we are NOT better than anyone else. I would love to hear more Christians tell people, “Listen, I’m terrible. I’m not even close to being what I should be. In fact, I’m probably worse than you are. But, I believe that Jesus was a perfect sacrifice for me and an example for both of us. If you believe that, then together we can try to be better.” It’s that simple.