Christianity makes so much sense to me when I look at the claims of the Bible and the world starts making a whole lot more sense in those lenses. I think a lot of people trying to disprove Christianity start with small things like "how many angels really were at the tomb" and stuff. But the Bible as a meta-narrative, that we are all sinners, inherently evil. That makes sense when you really look at this world. So a lot of people think that by claiming that the human race is inherently evil that you are being pecimistic or depressing. That couldn't be more opposite. Look at your life, your struggles your sins, your deep rooted issues and thoughts. Is it more depressing to think that you were born a good person and ended up this way? Or that you were born evil, born with issues, bent towards selfishness, prone to struggle and fail? A cliché but true point that people make is that you don't have to teach a child to rebel, you have to teach him not to. If he was naturally good, you'd have to teach him to rebel. So through the lenses of the Gospel, just looking at how we are individually and as a race, it makes sense why we all struggle why we all have some deep rooted issues and why others have hurt us so much. They didn't work on being selfish, they just failed to work towards selflessness.
I think that one of the biggest causes for divorce is our false mindset that humans are inherently good. We get married and think that we've ended up with the only human being that is bent towards selfishness. Or God forbid we admit it, but we start seeing how inherently selfish we are. We just assume that it's that 'one person' that is making us inherently selfish, when really it's when you do life with people, when you are in deep community with people that you start to really see your own flaws.
We are used to hanging out with people for 4-8 hours. So we can put up with all their flaws and annoying habits for that long. We have a 4-8 hour tolerance for people. I know this from touring in vans with bands, get in a confined space with people for hours on end and weeks at a time. I've seen fights break out on sandwiches, Wendy's, checking emails, about talking on the phone, how someone drives, how much someone showers. I've seen bands break up because of someone asking for a bit of someone else's meal every time. If you live by yourself, you forgive yourself for leaving the dishes dirty, you forgive yourself for making a mess or turning on the TV loud. When you have to share, that's when you start fighting for your TV volume and stuff. If we were selfless, we'd turn it down or do the other person's dishes, even if it was the 100th time we've done them.
Every time I go to a festival with the bands that I work with, I'll always find the "free hugs" sign held by someone walking around. If you haven't seen this, there are Youtube videos on people offering these free hugs. You will notice by how people comment that people think they have found the answer to peace. Which is incredibly sad to me. A hug is so passive. I'd much rather hug someone and hold a door open for them then to live life with them working through their problems. Even as wonderful as a hug can be, the hugs that mean the most is when someone embraces you after hearing your story, your real E! True Hollywood Story of your pains, your struggles and your thoughts. Your dark secret sins. After telling them that, receiving a hug is part of being accepted. It's a physical acceptance and forgiveness. That's when I want a 'free hug'.
As a human race, we have perfected the art of appearing better people than we are. Just live this way over here and this way when with people. I believe that we don't realize how evil our habits are because we don't confess them to others. When we do confess we hear ourselves talk and think "do I really do that?". In the Christian culture we 'confess' but we don't always really confess. In fact, I can't think of anything more unhealthy for my soul than to get to a Bible study and hear Christians confess vague sins like "pride and selfishness" or "my prayer life isn't that good". Why are you even talking? If people aren't going to confess in public than just shut up. Don't you get it? We are all inherently selfish. All of our prayer lives are difficult. We all struggle with pride. One time I started blogging about the details of my pride and some readers have emailed me and used it against me like "oh, well that's just your pride talking". As if they are immune to those struggles!
Do you know what our vague confessions does to someone that is honest with their struggles? It alienates them, it makes their struggles seem monumental in comparison. It also doesn't allow them to really be honest with their struggles when it's their turn to confess. They have to spend their time thinking about the small little thing they need to fix in their life. After a while, I believe we convince ourselves that the little thing we came up with while confessing is really the only thing we need changed. Then our need for a savior gets smaller.
Jesus said "he who is forgiven much, loves much". We aren't just forgiven from that time we thought about ourself more than our friend or that time we thought about errands while praying. We are forgiven for those deep dark sins in our lives that nobody knows about but God.
When you start doing life with people, getting your hands dirty, sharing your secrets, they'll share you theirs. For me, I'll always initiate my struggles and I almost always hear back something from them that follows suit.
I will keep these vague, but I wish you would learn for yourself, from your honest confessions that we are are deeply broken. I wish I could get into the grave dark details of these. I have a friend that worked on a film with me. Married with a wife and kids. I've been to his church and everything. Then I found out he is a child molester. God loves him. One lady I've known almost my whole life, a lovely old lady that could do nothing wrong in my eyes, I've even said once "I hope my wife is like that one day". I've heard that while her husband was dying she told him "God told me that you'd die so I can marry so-and-so". God loves her. I know this one man that has pretty much raised me, who has a wife a kids and works at a church. When his family leaves he dresses up as a women because he doesn't feel loved as a man, his father has always hated his existence. God loves him. I worked at a inner city youth center a while back. One kid that I played pool with, went to church with and even joked around with all the time. I ended up trying to visit him while he was in jail for beating an elderly man with a baseball bat. God loves him. I know murders, rapists, pornographers, hard drug addicts, etc. God loves them. Everyone knows these people. We just assume that the worst person that we know swears and lives with his girlfriend. When we start seeing how dark this world is, that's when we can open our eyes and admit that we are all inherently evil people at the core. Even when we are being nice to people it's to make ourselves look better or to make us forget about what we do in secret. And we're confessing about our prayer life.
Every guy that I've ever honestly asked, struggles with porn with the exception of four guys and two of those guys admitted "I don't struggle with that because my struggle is with the physical act of sex". I'm not talking about 20 guys. I've talked to more guys than I can count, more guys than you have on your Facebook friend's list. I wish I could say that I don't struggle with porn, but I do and I hate it. Everyone teenage boy thinks he'll be done with it when he gets married. But a few of accountability partners are married. Even girls admit to me they struggle with porn, if not that they struggle with cutting themselves, bulimia, anorexia, deep rooted fears and so much more that sadly stems from us men objectifying women. The problem with us is that we don't connect them. They feed each other. I know so many girls that hate their past, I know some that have been raped, sexually abused, had an abortion not only just had stuff done to them but things they've done to others. I know more than three girls that have molested their siblings and/or kids they babysit. Don't tell me that your biggest issue is your prayer life. I've traveled this world for way too long. I know that you have something deep inside you that makes you so ashamed and that makes you feel alone. If you are fed the lie that you were born a good person, you'll hate yourself even more. Believe me, I know.
This is why real Christianity makes so much sense to me:
15For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
- Romans 7
This is written by Paul, a guy that murdered men, women and children because they were Christians. He also became a Christian and wrote 70% of the New Testament. Real Christianity says "look, I know you are broken and can't stop doing what you want to stop doing..."
Why do you think the Bible is filled with and written by murderers, adulterers, rapists, incestors, etc. People think that it will hurt their ministry if they admit their struggles, but what it does, in the light of the Gospel, is show others that we didn't figure it out either. It's not about us. We all need a savior and all the self-help list of ways to get free aren't going to save you either. Cracks are easy to repair but, my friends, we are not cracked, we are broken. When an iphone screen is cracked it's still usable, just a little inconveniencing, when an iphone is broken it's unusable and it must be returned to it's maker and be exchanged for a new one. When I hear that we are inherently evil, it gives me hope, it's way less depressing and I love that there is a second part.
We are all broken and can be returned to the creator to be made new. When a broken iPhone gets exchanged for a new one, someone has to pay for that. Luckily for us, when we give our lives back to it's creator, he exchanges it for a new life and luckily He has paid for it with his son.
I love that Jesus didn't come to this earth to give free hugs. I love that the Bible, as far as I know, it doesn't talk about Jesus hugging people. I know he did and will. But He didn't come down to hug them and leave them as they were. Hugs comfort the brokeness, he didn't comfort the pain, He healed it. I love that. I know that He still does.
He doesn't zap us and everything is alright, I believe that he does something better, he loves us, walks with us, loves us, picks us up every time that we fall, loves us, teaches us and loves us. Jesus has made us righteous so now we can walk in righteousness along with Him.