There is no scripture that indicates Jesus said to anyone, “Girl, lead your best life. You deserve this. Get you some.” There’s not one scripture that even hints at the slightest possibility of that message, & yet here we all are, telling each other blessings are coming if you do you, boo.
This is, like, the opposite of Christ’s teaching. By every metric, the message of Christ is that we are actual living, breathing crap and we have to change. He loves us so much that even though he knew we were nothing more than animated monkey feces pulsating with selfish urges, he died for us in the hope that we may want to be something other than that.
I get the impression a lot of people think God is just like your dog. He sees you naked (& the weird stuff you do when you are naked) & doesn’t judge you at all. He just loves you, wagging his divine tail. But the dog is judging you constantly; he just can’t articulate it. God articulated his judgment quite well all throughout the Bible (“You wicked generation”, etc.). And still he sent Christ.
And is Christ. As well as the Holy Spirit. Gotta throw some trinitarian mysteries up in this.
Right about now is when you expect I will drop a loving, warm, and hopeful point on you. I’ll drop this instead.
Christ said blessed are the poor in spirit. Blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are those who are persecuted for his name’s sake. “Blessed” is also interchangeable with the word “happy”.
Happy are the miserable!
It’s very hard to put into words unless you’ve achieved this, so I will flounder & you’re gonna get bored. I’m just warning you. You may want to turn on some music or something.
There’s an old story (or proverb or whatever) describing the 3 major Chinese religions. Confucius, Buddha, & Lao Tsu are presented with a barrel of liquid. Confucius & Buddha dip their fingers in, taste it, & make sour puss faces.
Lao Tsu, the Father of Taoism, dips his finger in, tastes it, & smiles. The other two are annoyed at the sourness of the liquid. Lao Tsu is happy because he’s experiencing something. He gets to taste. He’s learned what the liquid is. He has information.
I guess for super weirdo crazy Christians, the kind y’all make fun of, suffering is an opportunity to be closer to Christ. It’s not like Garbage’s “Happy When it Rains.” It’s more like “Eye of the Tiger.” It’s more like the montage of Rocky dragging wagons of hay around or whatever (it’s been a while since I’ve seen it).
It’s training. It’s boot camp. It’s the tempering of steel. It sucks, but it’s the human experience of suffering making you into a badass for helping others. You’re training to be Christ’s hands. You’re getting ripped to be Christ on Earth. You’re bulking up his Church.
A person who has suffered much & learned from it has what seem like super human powers. They can forgive easily. They are patient. They are humble. Nobody understands them. Everyone thinks they’re crazy. A few also envy them, or begrudge their existence.
If someone whose child was murdered can forgive the murderer, what the hell does our beef with the idiot neighbour say about us? We don’t like people who are actually Christlike because they remind us how very not like Christ we are.
Christlike folk are loved & hated. They triage everyone. Strangers in pain will come before family that isn’t. Friends will wonder why they are still kind to That One Ex. You’ll notice that people try to see if they can make them angry. They’ll seem childlike and naive to world-weary cynics.
Jesus’ own friends doubted him constantly. The man walked on water in front of them, & they were all, like, “But, are you SURE?” No wonder he was always yelling at them. I feel like Jesus probably smacked Peter in the back of the head a few times.
This is because the disciples were humans laden with original sin, & therefore ambulatory sacks of crap. And he knew that. And he loved them.
If you were friends with Jesus, you’d be that person Facebook messaging him urgently, “Dude, that Peter is such a douche. DROP HIM. Stop talking to him. He hella denied you.”
And Jesus would either ignore you or type back “🤷🏽♂️❤️”.
And you’d message all your mutual friends, saying, “We need to stage an intervention for Jesus, y’all.”
Ambulatory sacks of crap. That’s us.
And completely worthy of salvation.
For more of this sort of thing, check out my book Christ, Not Crisis.