Christians are Pains (an Explanation and Apology)
FEBRUARY 8, 2017
Christians can be pains…because we honestly believe that we are right about some very important things.
The reason Christians fight so much is that we are among those very few people who honestly believe that there are some hills worth dying on.
In the seventeenth-century, Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer and physicist, came to the conclusion that Copernicus was right about the earth revolving around the sun. Galileo was summoned to Rome by the Inquisition to stand trial for his heretical views. Ultimately, he was forced to recant his views and was, in fact, sentenced to live out the rest of his life under house arrest. It is said that after he had publicly recanted his views and was being led away, he muttered under his breath, “But it still moves.”
Christians have the same problem Galileo had in that we find it hard to deny the truth we believe we have seen. The fact is it is hard to unsee truth once you’ve seen it. And that creates a very important difficulty for those of us who are Christians.
The fact is it is hard to unsee truth once you’ve seen it.
If you don’t believe, for instance, it is easy for you to be nice and to say it really doesn’t matter what one believes as long as one is sincere and doesn’t hurt anyone else with what one believes.
But we can’t do that…
I suspect physicians get quite upset with those who think that cancer can be cured with a spoonful of honey.
I suspect pilots get quite narrow and upset in their belief in aeronautical truth, especially if they happen to be passengers on a plane piloted by an inexperienced pilot.
And frankly, I don’t want to drive across a bridge built by anyone who thinks that it doesn’t matter what one believes about physics and mathematics as long as one is sincere.
As wild as it seems, we Christians really do believe there is a God who created all that exists. Even more important, we believe God communicated to the world he created. And even more important, we believe God supremely communicated to us in his Son Jesus Christ.
The Bible says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:1-3).
We Christians honestly believe every human being has a God-shaped vacuum that only God can fill. (Augustine said, “Thou hast created us for Thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”) We believe human beings are lost, bereft, eternally lonely and terribly in need of forgiveness and meaning. We believe human beings—every human being—needs to be redeemed and we believe Jesus is the Redeemer.
We also believe Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and the only way to get to God is through him and his death on the cross. “While we were still weak,” the Scripture says, “at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6, 8).
We believe after the crucifixion, that dead man—Jesus Christ—got up and walked, and he said we could too.
In our better moments, we know we have experienced freedom from guilt, supernatural joy and real hope in a hopeless world. We believe the same One who entered our time and space is going to come back someday and straighten out the world we have so horribly messed up.
The problem is that once one has seen the truth (and we believe we have), it is hard to keep quiet about it.
But more needs to be said than that…
Please forgive us when we said it the wrong way, when we were arrogant and self-righteous, when we beat you over the head with our Bibles and when we didn’t respect your views or value you as God’s creation.
It is just that we find it very difficult to remain silent about something, the truth we feel that is so good and so exciting.