Tuesday, June 17, 2014

5 Things Christians Should Start Saying

Recently, I've seen a lot of good literature and an equal amount of terrible literature in the blogosphere (I admit, I was just looking for a reason to use "blogosphere" in a sentence). Considering the age range of my peers, a lot of the articles that they post and re-post on the profiles of their social media accounts have to do with Christian dating, courtship, and marriage. Solid. That's an area that definitely needs a lot of reflection and redefinition. I also see a lot of blog posts about modern worship and church body behaviors. Great. I'm really excited to see a generation that wants to make sure they're doing things in the right way.

However, throughout a lot of these blogs, there's an air of cynicism and jadedness that I see in the world of online writing (to which I am often a contributor, I must admit). People have grown up being surrounded with bad examples of Christian living, and they seek to condemn some obviously bad practices and habits. Here are some article titles and links, so you get the feeling of what I'm talking about:

I want to start off by saying that I agree. Christians rely on cliches and overused phrases much too often. But the advice can leave us in a tough spot, because, while we are being told what not to do, we are never given wisdom on what we should do.  I am a firm believer that the Christian life consists not only of throwing off vice, but pursuing virtue.
"So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart." (2 Timothy 2, emphasis added)
Paul tells Timothy not only to run away from the evil, but to run to the good. Being told what not to say begs the question, "What should we be saying?" So, in an effort to approach things like every blog on the entire stinking internet does nowadays, I'm going to make my own list - a list of stuff Christians should say.

"Heaven is not a place for those who are afraid of hell; it’s a place for those who love God."
This is actually a quote from Matt Chandler's Explicit Gospel, but the point made here is invaluable. Our culture is saturated with this idea that salvation simply serves the purpose of fire insurance. The truth of the matter is that heaven is for those who made the choice to pursue and love Christ while here on this earth. It will be a place to celebrate the love of God for eternity, and if you didn't enjoy doing that here, it won't be your thing millennia from now.

"I don't pretend to understand what you're going through, but I serve a God Who does."
When people are broken and hurting, they're looking for someone who understands and can sympathize with their struggle, but it does no good for a well-meaning Christian to tell them, "I know your pain," if they've never experienced the matter that they are wrestling with. However, relating things back to a God Who experienced every kind of pain imaginable by taking on the sins of the world lets them know that they are not alone in their suffering, and that, rather than looking to you for comfort, they will find the pinnacle of comfort in the arms of Christ.

"You were worth the ultimate sacrifice."
Despite our culture's madly desperate attempts to teach our youth that they have worth, our society's children and adults are drowning in an inability to see their value because of the people who treat them like the dust beneath their soles. Telling someone the truth means little unless it is proved with action, and people will continue to believe they are worth nothing when that is all they've experienced, no matter how many megaphones and commercials we shout self-affirmation from. The ultimate proof of God's belief in our worth was in His death. No lie can disprove the truth that you are worth the Calvary Road.

"You are not a good person."
Sometimes, we try to prove our worth by qualifying it with saying that we are all, in our heart of hearts, good people. Bologna. Anyone with a truly critical eye can recognize that, at the depths of our souls, we desire only evil. One of the most freeing things is to come to terms with the fact that we aren't good, we've never been good, we can never be good, and that there was Someone Who died so that our non-goodness could be forgiven and we could be made right with God.

"Will you forgive me?"
It's hard to apologize. It's probably one of the most difficult things that could ever be done in the context of human relationships. It requires humility and vulnerability. However, one cannot stop at simply saying, "I'm sorry." I realize that this is, in and of itself, ridiculously hard. But when you ask someone to forgive you, you let go of any I'm-sorry-but (fill in the blank). It lets the other person know that the decision for peace in your relationship belongs to them. It is total and complete vulnerability, and it shows that you are serious about your contrition, and aren't simply doing it because you know you probably should.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of things we should be saying, but it's a start. This world has enough stop-doing-this. We need some start-doing-this. Go ahead, find some of your own!


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