Monday, March 5, 2018

Is Christianity a crutch? ............. Parables 711

April 10, 2001

If you get email, you probably get junk mail, virus hoaxes and assorted electronic chain letters. Some of them are humorous, others not worth the electricity it took to send them.

Occasionally some of this flotsam looks like hate-mail circulated by disgruntled employees. One arrived last week. It seemed to be copies of an exchange between the sender and a person who worked for a well-known television network. The sender had complained about a particular episode in a show that network carried. He took a biblical perspective on a certain issue and his letters were polite. The person who supposedly answered his complaint did so in a crude manner. He used lines like: “Get your nose out of the Bible . . . . treat people as equals . . . . try thinking for yourself and stop using an archaic book of stories as a lame crutch for your existence.”

Keep in mind that these ‘letters’ may been fabrications. Junk email is often like that; however, it did touch on a topic worthy of consideration. When some Christians speak about their faith as it applies to current controversial issues, we often are told that our religion is a crutch. The implication is that Christians are weak and their faith helps them limp through life.

It is true that crutches support people who are injured or disabled but there seems also to be a suggestion by these accusers that no one needs crutches. They seems to believe that all human beings can think for themselves and that our own ideas are all we need to live and solve every problem. In other words, we can do it without religion, faith or God.

Maybe that is true in limited situations. I get up every morning and brush my own teeth without help — but a quadriplegic cannot. Not everyone is self-sufficient in everything. Besides, the Bible says it is because of God that we “live and move and have our being” so without common grace from God, I could not get up in the morning and brush my teeth.

As I watch the nightly news, I cannot help but conclude that even if we human beings have the capacity to think through our problems, many of us do not. A certain percentage of the population is doing the opposite: thinking up problems.

Add to this the mistake factor. A corporate executive can make incredible and sincere decisions but are all his decisions beneficial? What about leaders of universities? Is every idea sound and positive? If the best leaders and thinkers can make mistakes, what about you or me?

Since lameness is the inability to function correctly, then everyone is lame, at least part of the time. We mess up, no matter how good we are at “thinking for ourselves.” This includes presidents, professors and thinkers as well as you and me. Even by our own standards of measurement, there is no perfect person who is limp-free all of the time.

So how about the standards of a perfect God? How does He measure our lameness? Solomon, a man noted for his wisdom, wrote this: “There is not one person that does good and never sins,” a theme that is repeated throughout Scripture. God can say that because He measures us by the standard of His Son. Jesus was a perfect man. He never did anything that violated the standards of His Father. Oh, on a human level some might find fault. If perfection is monetary, then Jesus failed. If perfection is popularity, then Jesus limped. Yet God says His Son passed all the tests.

People who tell Christians to stop using the Bible as a crutch do not realize that they themselves have crutches. Why else does society gobble up Valium, booze and excess food? What are those cravings but an attempt to hide a limp?

God knows our lameness but rather than ridicule us for it, He offers us His crutches. Anyone who tries them learns that with God, it is far better to be lame than blind.

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