Welcome to the first installment of my new feature, ‘being honest’. This week; faith and belief.
Some people say why do you believe a bunch of fairy tales? Others ask whether Jesus was real at all? Many simply do not care what religion you have.
I am Christian because I recognise that I am flawed and like all of us, despite having the capability to be beautiful in many ways, I am also broken. How?
I make terrible errors of judgement and incredibly stupid decisions that push friends and family away, alienate me or at best severely damage my credibility.
Admittedly most of these appallingly bad decisions were made when I was feeling stressed or exhausted, but that isn’t an excuse. That’s my ‘sapien’, my frailty, my weakness. A weakness that in my view we all share.
I completely accept that I need forgiveness. The three or four worst decisions I have made (there have been many others), that hurt others – as well as myself – are permanently etched, photograph-like, in my mind. And despite this, despite the mental turmoil that followed each of these – in some cases I have gone on to make a very similar mistake again.
So either I have a massive discipline problem, a short memory, or (and I think this is it) I am a self-conscious optimist, whose default position when under pressure is introspective… and this is incredibly unhelpful when you hope to keep those around you happy. And to make matters worse I speak my mind very often without always thinking about the effect on others. Perhaps you can empathise?
Fundamentally I am in huge trouble and I need help. The healing ‘second chance’ that Christ offers is therefore very appealing. I need to trust in him, because in some ways (not all) I cannot trust myself – nor can I trust that other people close to me will understand. Frequently they don’t, and I don’t necessarily blame them.
One major reason then why I worship in a church is due to this flaw, this human, selfish, stupidity. I feel that I need grace, I need mercy and love – and I can find it here.
The Bible also gives me another explanation: the devil roams ‘like a prowling lion’ and therefore at times I’ll be influenced by ‘him’ and not by good. Thus perhaps evil is not so much inside of us as surrounding us, like poisonous gas… Sometimes we inhale at the wrong time. Christ is the gas mask, the antidote or the pure, clear oxygen of freedom.
And obviously I am not the only one who thinks so.