What does it mean to be human? To be Christian?
Are the two such polar opposites, as some would have you believe?
Or is the very criteria of a believer to be so innately human that our flaws are unavoidable? Our sins laid bare at the foot of the cross?
In Romans 7:19, Paul writes, “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.”
Sitting in book club on a Monday evening, I feel an anger-lit ember fan deep in a corner of my heart. I know it doesn’t belong there but I’m careless at containing the flame. Flipping rapidly back and forth through the pages of Thrashing About with God, I remind myself of the importance of “I” statements and avoiding accusatory statements. Even so, I launch into a monologue of defense.
A woman in the book club has just made the comment that the writer is whiny. Not just “whiny,” but she goes on to say that there’s nothing wrong in the writer’s life and the writer has nothing to complain about as an American Christian. As if that’s a thing… As if a faith can be broken down by region and all of the people within that region can be lumped together under some privileged title.
As quickly as the words leaves her mouth, I concede that I will not invite my struggling friend to this study.
My loosely-dampened words spill over my tongue, half registered to my own ears, and I am fueled by thoughts of my friend’s gut-reaction to such a careless summary of untruth.
“Nothing to complain about.”
A slander against those who struggle behind radiant smiles or who bear their trials in silent obedience.
A statement of exclusion.
Yet perhaps the ember flames so easily in me because I’ve stood in this woman’s ostentatious stance before…
Perhaps I am reminded of my misplaced belief that living a life worthy of the calling I have received (Ephesians 4:1) somehow means a life free of dark spaces. Of doubt. Of dissatisfaction.
Psalm 34:17-18 “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
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