PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Are you a smug Christian?


So you have been saved. You have been redeemed from your sins. You are now a living Mr./Ms. Clean. You have stopped doing sinful things. You are so in love with God because you realize He has loved you even while you were still a sinner.

Now you have the right to be self-righteous. It’s now you and them, you and “the world.” You are so... nice, prim and proper; you don't want to be infected again like before. Now you have the right to become a nautilus. You insulate yourself, retreating deep into the safety of your chamber.

You no longer want to commit sin. You no longer want to get hurt. You no longer want to cry. You’ve left your old life.

No one can bring you back where you’ve been without meeting some opposition. But eventually you end up getting hurt. In spite of all your best effort to follow your God whom you’ve learned to love, you find that living in the world but not of it is a painful thing, a hard thing. You find that living as a Christian in a not-so-Christian world is a cruel thing. You get sneered at, jeered at, and heckled by the world’s hecklers.

Of course you get hurt, so hurt that you retreat deeper into your inner chambers. The world is so cruel. The world is so depraved. The world is so sinful.

So unlike...me, you say. You say, I love God and God loves me. I am good; I sin less. No, I don’t sin at all. I am awfully holy. I can’t live in this world anymore without getting hurt. I need to find myself an exclusive group of believers where I can escape pain.

I need an ivory tower. I need a Mt. Tabor where I can pitch my tent, a permanent residence where I can be shielded from the world’s sorrows and troubles, and instead be constantly awed by the Lord’s presence, his miraculous moment of transfiguration. I see my Lord rising majestically, gloriously towards the heavens.

Shut up. You...yes, you. You have become a smug Christian. You think Christianity is all about getting that high and keeping at it. There’s nothing wrong with that except that it would make Christianity superficial, a matter of feelings, of feeling high, of being a hallucinatory drug.

The Christian life is more than that. It is about opening up to God’s grace. Unfortunately, this includes persecution, as Christ, the Master has been persecuted. This includes carrying your daily cross even as you ask for your daily bread. Christianity has both a horizontal and vertical dimensions, so you also have to contend with the word, your fellow men and women and their concerns.

It is about getting off our high moralistic horses, trotting down the mountain of conceit and going back to where other souls are waiting, hungry and thirsty for the same grace coming from the same God. It is about the high probability of getting inconvenienced if not getting hurt.

But if you get hurt, you only get hurt because you still haven’t mastered the faith. Because you are still full of yourself, unable to let go, unable to see beyond your own needs and wants. Because you still haven’t learned that the other side of unconditional love – the kind of love you have received from God - is the necessity of unconditional forgiveness.

Unconditional love for others necessitates unconditional forgiveness. This means allowing yourself to be broken day by day, allowing yourself to lose even your entitlement to such things as wounded pride. Only by losing yourself can you truly find yourself. These comprise the one essence of Christianity you still have a great deal of catching up to do.

But do not be distraught. God is ever so gentle with His children. He knows we are weak. He knows we are fools. What are we, anyway? What are saints anyway but “simply sinners saved.” We Christians are children of Grace; the only difference is that we opened up to receive Her. We are virtually unable to save ourselves but for God’s mercy. Alone we are hopeless. But with God in control, there is salvation. With God behind the wheel, love persists in spite of men.

Get off your moralistic high horse, smug Christian. Accept that you are as frail as the next person, had God not chosen you to be His instrument. You used to have no power over your sins, but thanks be to the Holy Spirit, you are now a new creation. The world out there is utterly evil, but there is always great hope in Christ. The Lord’s vineyard is so big, there’s just a lot of work to do and there are just so little servants willing to work. But never confuse the enormous tasks ahead to be your burden. They are God’s work, not yours. You’re not supposed to understand and know everything; if He willed it so, then we’ll all cease to have a need for God. All He is asking is for us to do our little part. It is for our own sake. It is where we are able to grow.

Go down from the mountain, smug Christian, and return to the cities where it is noisy, grimy and humid. There, a great harvest awaits you. It is only there where you can find meaning and fulfillment. It is only there where you are to grow and can be really happy. It is only there where you can make God happy.

8.16.2001


Comments: Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]



Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home

Archives

01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004   02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004   03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004   04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004   05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004   06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004   07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004   08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004   09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004   10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004   11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004   12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005   01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005   02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005   03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005   04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005   05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005   06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005   07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005   08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005   09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005   10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005   11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005   12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006   02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006   03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006   04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006   05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006   06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006   07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006   08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006   09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006   10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006   11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006   12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007   01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007   02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007   03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007   04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007   05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007   06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007   07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007   08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007   09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007   10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007   11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007   12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008   01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008   02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008   03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008   04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008   05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008   06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008   07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008   08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008   09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008   10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008   11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008   12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009   01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009   04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009   05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009   06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009   07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009   08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009   09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009   10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009   11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009   01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010   02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010   03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010   04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010   05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010   06/01/2010 - 07/01/2010   07/01/2010 - 08/01/2010   08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010   09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010   11/01/2010 - 12/01/2010   01/01/2011 - 02/01/2011   02/01/2011 - 03/01/2011   03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011   04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011   05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011   06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011   07/01/2011 - 08/01/2011   08/01/2011 - 09/01/2011   09/01/2011 - 10/01/2011   10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011   11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011   12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012   02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012   03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012   04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012   05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012   06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012   07/01/2012 - 08/01/2012   08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012   09/01/2012 - 10/01/2012   10/01/2012 - 11/01/2012   11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012   12/01/2012 - 01/01/2013   01/01/2013 - 02/01/2013   02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013   03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013   04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013   05/01/2013 - 06/01/2013   06/01/2013 - 07/01/2013   07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013   08/01/2013 - 09/01/2013   09/01/2013 - 10/01/2013   10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013   11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013   12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014   01/01/2014 - 02/01/2014   02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014   03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014   04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014   05/01/2014 - 06/01/2014   06/01/2014 - 07/01/2014   07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014   10/01/2014 - 11/01/2014   11/01/2014 - 12/01/2014   01/01/2015 - 02/01/2015   03/01/2015 - 04/01/2015   04/01/2015 - 05/01/2015   05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016   07/01/2016 - 08/01/2016   08/01/2016 - 09/01/2016  

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]