Friday, April 2, 2010
A class-mate of mind told me once, "I'm a Christian, but I believe that whatever you believe is going to happen after you die, happens. If you're an atheist, you just stop existing. If you're a Hindu or Buddhist, you'll be reincarnated in another life. God is love. He's open minded..."
Interviewing a student at USC for our church TV program in Los Angeles, I asked one young, very hip philosophical fellow, what he believes God feels about suffering. He answered, "Who says there's anything wrong with suffering? I mean it's all in how we perceive reality. Who's to say that children dying of starvation need to be rescued? Maybe starvation is a good thing but our society has decided to call it bad."
I know, this guys brains didn't just fall out, they got run over by a truck! Meanwhile our cameraman starts laughing and says, "Right! Tape up his mouth for two weeks and then he can tell us if starvation is a good thing!"
Isn't it odd that people who boast about being open minded are often those who consider themselves to be so highly intelligent, but can't define what truth is? Everything is a shade of grey, nothing is black and white, true or false. Just vague foggy guesses at what feels right at the moment.
Being open minded isn't enough if it isn't founded firmly on truth. Some things are black and white, unchangeable, indisputable. Even when it isn't cool or trendy to believe them, they still stand. I consider myself open minded, but everything I believe has to be weighed and brought in line to what the Word of God says. Evil and hell exist. God and His Kingdom exist. There is only one way to know God, and there is only one way to overcome evil. These are truths that can't be ignored.
But some well meaning Christians want to believe that it's okay to put up with a life of misery even though they also believe the verse, "By His stripes we are healed." Maybe God wants them to suffer. Maybe God sees the good in suffering to purify their faith. Maybe they've been chosen for a higher calling to suffer more than others because they are so special. Maybe we should get them to share a room with the guy from USC so they can all philosophize about the wonders of suffering and tell starving children in Ethiopia to just be happy. Really, is there any difference?
If Jesus died and rose from the dead, the captives in hell we released, the sun couldn't bear to shine, the earth trembled, all nature reacted to the death and resurrection of it's Creator, isn't it logical that if God Himself sacrificed His own life just for us, we would be able to live a new life too? It's what He promised, but unfortunately few, very few know how to fight to find that new life. It starts with being angry with the fact that evil has a foothold in our lives - not accepting the evil, or fearing the evil or being in awe of evil - but fighting it with all our faith and strength. There's no better way to celebrate Jesus' victory and resurrection than making sure that everything He sacrificed for becomes real in our lives. That takes determination and a laser-like focus. Call me narrow minded, but there's no way else to live.