Christianity isn’t hocus pocus, you know, but you’d not be faulted for thinking so, given some of the “teachings” out there.
One of my favorites, or rather, one that I dislike the most, has to do with negative statements, and the voodoo reaction they will have upon you, your life, your relationship with God, and the way your dog thinks about you if you say something like,
“I don’t think this is going to work.”
“Oh, don’t say that!” someone inevitably pipes up. “You can do all things through Christ, you know, and if you express doubt, you are expressing doubt in God Himself.”
How wonderful. Yet another burden of guilt to bear.
The other day I was chatting with someone about prayer when I observed,
“I came to realize, when I was talking with God, that my essential problem is that I don’t really trust that He is as good as He says He is.
“So I told Him this, and asked Him to help me get over my fears and inadequacies, and to come to a point of truly trusting in His goodness.”
Let’s Be Honest, with God and Each Other
While shock and awe might be an overstatement of my listener’s reaction, there was a significant silence.
“I am amazed that you can be so . . . honest . . . with God,” she replied.
Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be?
Many years ago, when the Norwegian Artist’s college diploma couldn’t be rolled up because the ink was still wet, the man worked for a company whose president encouraged an open office where employees, even the lowliest minions, could stride freely into the chief’s office and express their opinions about anything.
As a trusting, lowly minion of the time, the Norwegian took the man at his word and expressed misgivings over certain company policies which didn’t seem especially . . . ethical, especially in light of the president’s confident pronouncement of the company’s Christian policies.
Significant Silence. Then,
“I suggest that you let this matter go,” the president replied, “that is, if you want to keep your job.”
So much for openness and transparency, something that is trumpeted not only in business and government, but within the Christian establishment community, where believers are encouraged, in small groups, to express themselves freely and enjoy the abundant acceptance of Christ.
That is, until they pipe up with something like,
“My essential problem is that I don’t truly trust God and accept that He is as good as He says He is.”
A lot of people have a problem with true, wrenching, uncomfortable honesty, but I’m here to give you some good news from the ultimate CEO, who is not particularly interested in hearing what you think He wants to hear, but is fully capable of understanding of what is in your heart — sometimes so deep in your heart that you don’t realize it is there.
“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,” Hebrews 4: 12 describes not only God’s word, but God Himself.
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
No matter how dreadful your thought, no matter how uncomfortable it would make another person to hear it, no matter how inappropriate and negative and irreligious and untrusting it sounds, if it’s in your heart, God already knows about it, and your denying that it exists isn’t going to make it go away.
Indeed, the only way to deal with the agonizingly difficult doubts, fears, anxieties, hostilities, and bitterness that we bury, deep down where they fester and grow, is to ask God to use that sword, and pierce the darkness.
And He will fill our souls with light.
Join me Wednesdays for Contempo Christianity, when I talk about living as a real Christian in a world that loves deceit. You can also find me at Commonsense Christianity, BeliefNet, where I post three times a week. Recent articles include
The Artwork in my articles is by my Norwegian Artist, Steve Henderson, with whom I am celebrating 31 years of marriage this month.
You can find Steve’s original oil and watercolor paintings at Steve Henderson Fine Art.
Businesses and manufacturers: contact Steve’s agents at Art Licensing.