This is my opinion which is in no way completely right so please don’t disagree with me too harshly, however it is my experience and it may well prove valuable to take into account. I’m sure there are many times when I have done similar things and think it is good for the Church, and ourselves personally, to take a look at some of it’s faults and work on them.
I have come into contact recently with some seriously insensitive christians, people who have used religion and well-meaning advice to (accidentally) injure, offend and alienate people around them, myself included.
Specifically I am talking about telling people to “be happy” when something awful happens and that “this is a good thing”. Where in the bible are we told to do this?
When someone’s world has literally crumbled around them what right do we have to tell them the situation is a good one? It does not affect us, it’s easy for us to say and it completely undermines their pain.
Excuse me, but blind faith should not take priority over our compassion! Show the world blind faith against all natural feelings in your own life and people will applaud you but ask them to do it in theirs and you are simply hurting them.
I totally, whole heartedly agree that God is good, that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and that He is always worthy of our praises. I really have no problem with people’s logic on this point – really I do see what they mean when they say things are good. I have a problem with the attitude that it’s ok to hit people over the head with these facts when they are just not in the place to receive them.
Look at what happened with Jesus and Lazarus. Jesus knew it was a good thing Lazarus had died – He was going to raise Him from the dead! If anyone had a right to tell his family his death was a good thing it was Jesus. Did He tell them this? No. He cried.
When Jesus had the choice between promoting faith and showing compassion He chose the latter. We might think that it would have been better to proclaim God’s goodness in this place, but Jesus didn’t; He showed God’s character by sharing in their pain.
Church – let’s become like Jesus, let’s aim to share God’s love and compassion and keep our mouths shut when it comes to clichés. Perhaps if we manage this we will be able to shake off the labels we have earnt, hypocrites, judgmental, happy clappy, bible bashers.
Let’s focus on loving people and if in the process that calls for some positive advice of this sort, then fantastic, but if it isn’t needed lets not say it – I think that’s what Jesus would have done.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/20872388@N06/5613639467/”>Peej’s Photos</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/”>cc</a>