What would I do if I met Christ?
APOLOGIZE on behalf of my brothers and sisters.
If Christianity was only a club with a history of over 2000 years. I would not belong. Mainly because half of the members are hypocrites that undermine the message. I don’t hold them responsible mainly because their idiots. I struggled between idiot and moron and ultimately went with idiot because of the selfish self-defeating feature that joins the lack of intelligence:
a stupid person.
synonyms: fool, idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, clod
An idiot, dolt, dullard is a person perceived to be lacking intelligence, or someone who acts in a self-defeating or significantly counterproductive way. I think you’ll agree, when it comes to my fellow Christians, idiot just fits better. Fortunately this is not a club and Christ endures idiots so much better than I do. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. Mathew 5:16 I take this as proof that He endures our idiocies.
The problem is Human Nature
Rather than write another post about human nature and the purpose of existence I will give you a link → Christianity 101 Note: I spent an entire semester in seminary getting cozy with this theology. I recommend the same, not seminary but know the Theology, it’s totally worth the study.
Since I am over 50 and quickly sliding into cranky impatience that comes with old-age, I will forgo the details and tell you one rule about human nature that constitutes for 90% of behavior:
Humans pursue PLEASURE and avoid PAIN
If you really think about it, you can go back and dissect a decision and find two main ingredients that swayed your choice. Let me give you a couple of examples. The first is Greek:
When Hercules grew up he started to think about which path he will take in life. One day while sitting on a rock up on a hill, he saw two women approaching him. When they came closer, he could see that the one was dressed in beautiful clothes, she had make up on, and looked wealthy. The other was pretty, but was dressed very plainly.
The wealthy looking woman spoke to him first. She said:
“Hercules, my friends call me Happiness and my enemies call me Evil (κακία). If you decide to follow my path I will make you rich and great. Everything that you desire you will have. You will never have to work, others will work for you.”
The other woman spoke after. She said:
“My name is Virtue. I will speak to you sincerely. If you follow my path, you will have to work hard if you want to become rich. If you want to have great strength you must exercise your body. And if you want your friends and others to love you, you must love them and be good to them. My road is not easy…”
Hercules thought about the words of the two women, and decide to follow the difficult path of Virtue.
The other is biblical:
Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it.Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.… Mathew 7:13-15
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Mathew 16:24
Do you see what I see? Maybe → Do U C What I C?
I am familiar with the meaning “No pain, no gain.” I heard it my entire life. My dad used it to motivate us kids to do yard work. Between you and me, I always thought who is gaining in this partnership. My mother took a different tack, she said “It builds character.”
Now I could go in any number of directions with this idea, but for me it is clear: Pain is a necessary ingredient in the recipe of life and that is the problem; we avoid pain. That’s what we do, it’s natural. Before I go further, realize pain arrives two ways. The first is when we invite it. The other is when it arrives uninvited. As a therapist I meet people who experience both. I will tell you, after two decades in the business, a majority of pain in life is invited . The irony is, the invited pain is due to the trying to avoid it.
Example: The pain of diet comes from the pleasure of over indulgence. The pain of debt comes from the pleasure of over desire. Those are the obvious ones. The pleasure of activities outside the marriage come from avoiding the pain within the marriage. This is the reason people don’t come to me until they have made a giant mess and are in pain.
Drug use is a behavior that is common. Either to avoid pain of a headache or to seek the pleasure of a caffeine buzz. That pursuit or avoidance on a larger scale has lead to our current opioid crisis. The pursuit of pleasure often leads to pain and the pursuit of pain often leads to pleasure.
C.S. Lewis put it this way,
“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
Psst … Taking the road less travel often is more painful … but it’s the best choice. Christianity is all about taking this road.It is a road of pain that turns into pleasure as opposed to the other road. This is what Christ asks and it just ain’t natual.
These “modern Beatitudes” were proposed by Pope Francis during his visit to Sweden on All Saints Day 2016:
- “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart.”
- “Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness.”
- “Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him.”
- “Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home.”
- “Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others.”
- “Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”