REPAIRING VANDALIZED HOPE (13 DEC 2016)
Some people are groping in the dark for hope & can’t find any. I explain to them that their situation is like being in a totally dark unfamiliar room seeking the door; the door handle may be close even though you can’t see it. Now the battle between good & evil is similar to combat. In war, combatants get battle-weary, the confusion of the fog of war puts a damper on their enthusiasm, and they are deluged with enemy propaganda to dishearten & discourage them. What seems hopeless one minute, may change in a short time. I encourage people to ride out the storms, standing on the promises (such as “yea though I walk thru the Valley of the Shadow of death…”) that have sustained hope in millions of believers down through the years.
There are many reasons people give up hope. I remember an intelligent, young Christian father, who spoke 5 languages fluently. We traded letters while I was incarcerated, up until December came & he failed to reply. Later that following spring his parents wrote me that he’d left his Christian faith in Dec., gone to the occult, & one month later committed suicide. (His problem had been his inability to deal w/ his divorce & loss of his son.) If the reader is a Christian, then perhaps you have had someone tell you, “I wish I could believe what you believe. But I just can’t.” I have had that said to me several times, and these same people who intellectually can’t get past some mental blocks to accept the Christian faith, will turn to the occult & next thing you know, they’ve committed suicide. It is almost a pattern. This is a message on repairing vandalized hope, for both those who believe & those who can’t.
A QUAGMIRE OF CHAOS & AN ABSURD THEATRICAL DRAMA. Life can seem like an asylum’s auditorium. So some people just try to ride with the crowd, drift with what’s popular, and cop an ambivalent attitude. They don’t want to stick out by becoming a Christian, and they rationalize: You can’t know God (agnostic view). Yet if you can’t know God, you have to live as if there were no god (life as an atheist). And here is where we have 3 possible positions. 1) If we live like there is no god, then foundationally it boils down to: there are no intrinsic laws. It is really survival of the fittest, and might makes right. The thug who beats you up & steals your purse because he has the brute strength or a gun, has every right to do it. Might makes right. Is that really what you want? Even the thug is uncomfortably vulnerable to a bigger thug. 2) or we have the second position that God exists, but is basically unknown as He is not involved w/ us. You might call God, “Mr. Anonymous”. If such is the case, then it seems this Mr. Anonymous is cruel, because many have an unquenchable thirst to find Him, and yet He is hiding. It makes God seem like an inept, untalented, timid, bashful character who doesn’t have the ability to communicate with man. The last position #3, is the Christian position: that God cares about humankind, and reveals Himself, and at times steps into our space-time to do miracles & communicate.
MENTAL SMOKESCREENS & MORE BARRIERS. Most Americans, when polled, actually believe position #3…but have an entire set of additional mental blocks, some real & some excuses: Christianity has supposedly been debunked, is antiquated, prescientific, & anti-science. It’s seen as a crutch for weak minded people to escape reality. And for those who have really bought the msm & social engineering, they are convinced it is a bloodthirsty religion burning witches, destroying the Native Americans, crusading against the Moslems, Inquistioning the Jews, & killing each other in Northern Ireland. They will say, “Christianity has been around for 2,000 yrs. and look at the mess we are in. Time for a change.” Let’s start w/ this last comment: yes, Christianity has been around for 2,000 yrs, and so has paganism, Satanism, & agnosticism. Many things besides the Christian faith have been involved in making our modern world’s messes. And many non-Christian tyrants have done horrible things over the last 2,000 years, and none of these tyrants were practicing Christians. Christ told us how you would recognize his disciples: by their love! (A) Christ taught that love is the law of life, & he offers humanity love & forgiveness. In his description of the new birth,(B) he says nothing about believing all the church’s answers to difficult questions; you can come to Christ with your doubts & questions….Christ in JN 3 only asks that you look to him as your redeemer paying the price for your sins.
WE ALL NEED HELP: to deny that is to run from reality. It is true that Christianity is a “crutch” in the sense that it is indeed to help those of us who are broken by sin. For instance, the alcoholic uses Christ to become sober. I have at least 2 friends that depended upon Christ to save them from alcoholism…they are thankful to have Christ as a crutch. If you have a broken leg, a crutch is a good thing. And finally, it is a myth that Christianity has been debunked (C) & is anti-science.
BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT. The adversaries of Christ tell people that the standard for belief has to be proof beyond any question. No… beyond a reasonable doubt is fine. Think about it. A person is criminally liable based on proof beyond a reasonable doubt. He could do life in prison based on that. A person is civilly liable in a suit based on “the judgment of a prudent person”. Why should your life not allow something with these kinds of evidence?? You mean you want to choose a meaningless existence over a way of life with meaning & joy because someone thinks you should only accept something that is beyond any kind of question or doubt. Nothing like that exists people!
SCIENCE & PHILOSOPHY HAVE LIMITS. Let say for the sake of discussion a person has a hard time believing people walk on water & fish swallow people. That is not the issue at stake when Christ knocks on the door of your heart. What is at issue is this: can you face the reality that you are a sinner, and accept that he loved you enough to pay the penalty for your sins??? The issue is not that you have great faith, but that you have the obedience to look to Christ as your redeemer, your savior. O.K.? but let’s say a person is too intellectually proud to accept that, & he fears rejection by his friends if he does anything Christian. If the person ever decides to be honest with himself, he will realize whether it is science, philosophy or Christianity…it all has to be taken on belief. Any field of study has limits, and at some deep level has to simply be accepted, as there is nothing that is 100% provable without the possibility of doubt. That’s why a few students, who thought philosophy would be a genuine replacement for the Christian beliefs they had discarded, were very disappointed, & described their disappointment to me. And if you discard Christianity, or never accept Christ, you will find something to replace it. You have to base your life on something. And I can guarantee you, it will be flakier than Christ. Christ’s teachings are as good as it gets.
NO OTHER FOUNDATION. So the Christian view from the Word of God is “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”(D) Christ claimed, “Let not your heart be troubled…I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”(E) Christ’s words cont., “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock; and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”(F) If you catch his drift, he says storms will come into your life—and if it is founded on him, it will have a sure foundation. And if not, the storms of life will destroy it. Now bear in mind, many nominal Christians hobble along in spiritual mediocrity uncommitted either to the World or the Kingdom of God. They sell themselves short on the blessings God has…and when the storms come…which invariably they do…they freak & abandon God.
FINAL THOUGHTS. My heart breaks to see people make life harder than it has to be. Most lives are not easy; they are quiet lives of desperation. But rejecting the love, forgiveness & spiritual help that God offers us, only makes things harder. Christ was a man of sorrows, and at times wept. What he saw broke his heart, & it may break yours too. My prayer is that you would make use of that solid foundation Christ’s freely offers, so that when the storms come, you are not alone; & that those we know, who are struggling, would also find the hope that Christ offers them.
(A) JN 13:35 (B) JN 3:1-16 (C) there is plenty of good apologetic material like Kent Hovind’s & books like More Evidence that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell which show that the Christian faith has not been debunked (D) 1 COR 3:11 (E) JN 14:1a,6 (F) MT 7:24-25
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