Somehow, I feel that we’d all be bad Christians. The real question is, how "bad" is "too bad?"
Let’s be brutally honest. Nobody’s perfect, and the more you know a person, the more of their flaws you see. It’s been my experience that whenever the more sweet, meek, and mild a person is on the outside, the darker, more sinister, and meaner they are on the inside. I’m not saying that’s always the case, but it’s been true for me 100% of the time in my life so far.
We’ll never be perfect while we live in this world. It’s impossible. So how ‘good’ do you have to be to qualify as ‘good?’ What point it is worth it to keep walking the walk?
I told you yesterday about the person I knew who wouldn’t take a stand for anything, and how we didn’t get along. That person’s flakiness was certainly a factor, but I played my part. I was in my 20’s and early 30’s at the time, and I thought I had to fight for everything to get respect. I was a know-it-all and had to learn my lessons in discernment and wisdom the hard way. Unfortunately, it did a lot of damage that couldn’t be undone in this relationship and many others. I burned several bridges I wish I hadn’t burned. And while I did make progress while I knew this person, their judgment of me was already made and they weren’t changing it. There was no opportunity for redemption. Why? Because both of us were ‘bad’ Christians, which left no room for reconciliation. We both learned our lessons the hard way, too. I saw life kick her in the butt, and it kicked me in the butt in my late 30’s when our paths diverged. I’m a different person now than I was then. Perhaps they are, too.
Would I have been better off being an atheist during those early years? I meant well, but I missed the mark for a long time. I came out of a rough middle and high school that taught me to fight for everything, and it took me from college through my late 30’s to learn otherwise. Some lessons do come hard. And who’s to say that I’m still not missing it? I’m better now than I was then, but there’s still room for improvement. Am I still a ‘bad’ Christian that would be better off without my faith, or does effort count?
The Bible says it does, and to never give up. Disturbingly, I feel I hear an undertone in the Pope’s message that if you can’t win the fight, then why try? Wait – doesn’t Jesus tell us that we will have trials, but He has overcome the world and our victory is in Him? What kind of idiot would I be to give up the free gift of grace, just because the fight against the devil and this world is hard? Of course it is – that’s the point! Christians are the biggest resistance the devil has.
Now I’m getting into an entirely different set of issues than I intended. So I’ll step back and say, I wonder if one is better off an atheist than a bad Christian. At least a bad Christian hears the message, and there’s chance of it taking root. Somebody who isn’t there at all has no chance. The bad Christian has a chance – in fact, they have as much of a chance as everybody.
So the bottom line: I don’t agree with the Pope. The only case where he’s right is in cases of blatant disregard, where the person in the pew is only there to hold up a fake image that doesn’t reflect true belief. But there again, I wonder how right it is. If God disgusts you so much, then why would you go to His house every week, hang out with His people, and listen to things you don’t believe? Nobody can force themselves to do something they hate indefinitely. Eventually, they’ll break – and eventually, the fake Christians will be exposed, or give up. They’ll wear out and want to spend that energy on other things and places that they do believe in.
What do you think? I’m interested to hear your perspective. Are you an atheists or a member of another faith? Even better! This really is a fascinating thing to ponder, and I think it’s a good thing for all of us to consider. Share your feedback here, or on Twitter or Facebook. Your soul is the most valuable thing you have, so pondering it is worthwhile.
That’s all today. Take care, and have a great rest of the week.