Monday, October 12, 2009

When Good Christians Go Bad

I'm really personally struggling with this right now. So many people who profess to have such profound faith seem to be such utter screw ups when other people are able to peek into their lives. Now, every one is entitled to some screw ups. We're only human, and we're not perfect. Life and mistakes happen. It's how we learn. But some people just seem to profess the Christian faith and then go happily along their way, hurting people mentally, physically, psychologically, and emotionally and never caring that what they practice is radically different from what they preach.

Jesus is not a get out of hell free card people. Just because he died for your sins doesn't mean you get to do whatever the heck you want to anyone you want. So don't use him that way.

I'm gonna go ahead and quote one of the best television programs ever made (Scrubs) on this one: "Did you just compare my Lord and Savior to a tiny tophat?" Treating Jesus like he's divine fire insurance is rather like comparing him to a tiny tophat - utterly ridiculous. Jesus isn't something you can stick in your pocket and use when you feel bad; he's not a happy pill. He's not that friend you call only when you're down. He's not that weird relative you forget exists, but whom you enthusiastically hug at family Christmas parties like you've been living for the moment when you'd see them again. You owe him something, or more specifically, you owe him a lot on behalf of the world and everyone in it. So how on earth can anyone who believes in Jesus stand to treat their brothes and sisters in Christ like dirt? seems vaguely punny. Anyways, back on topic. Whatever happened to loving your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:39)? What happened to caring about not only your neighbors, but your friends and your family, those you are even more deeply connected with?

Joel Osteen, preacher of Lakewood, a megachurch in Houston, rarely preaches on sin. He finds it discouraging for his congregation (NB: he does preach though that homosexuality is a sin apparently. I guess it's his exception to the rule?). This seems to be the attitude of a good bit of the modern church - let's not think about sin. Let's think about how nice God is! Hooray!

But here's the deal people - not everyone views sin the same way. I'm not a fan of hellfire and brimstone preaching at all. But we've taken the opposite stance to the point that pedophiles, incestous creeps, adulterers, stalkers, manipulators, abusers, thieves, sociopaths and all sorts of terrible people aren't hearing AT ALL that their ways need to change and that God wants them to behave better towards their fellow human beings. While Jesus loves everybody just as they are, it doesn't mean he loves how we act all the time, just like you love your dog even when it pees on the floor, but you'll probably still be rather POed and use some pretty interesting words. Heck, an awful lot of people would claim that that applies to a whole lot of how I've lived my life up to this point, and honestly, they'd be right to an extent. Everybody screws up. But that doesn't mean it's okay to ignore that you've screwed up and think it's okay because you're special and Jesus loves you. You have to do better, work harder, love more deeply. It's why we're here, or at least I hope to goodness that's why I'm here.

As you can tell, my opinions of the biggest sins are sins against other people. To hurt another human being is to hurt someone who was made in God's image, whom he personally created and has a plan for. We are meant to love one another, not to harm. But that's just my opinion.

And if nothing is impossible with God (Like 1:37) then why exactly is he letting such bad things happen? Why do the bad people who claim to have him in their lives get away with such awful things?

Faith is belief beyond the scope of reason, and I'm clinging to it and hoping all the crazy stuff going on not only in my corner of the world but in everybody's corners will be okay. Surely at the end of the day, there will be some method to the Lord's apparent madness. (Not that God's crazy. It's a figure of speech. Then again, he did make the platypus, so clearly he's at least a little bit bizarre.)

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