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You know, I think as churches and as Christians we are afraid to deal with pain and darkness.
It seems like a lot of times we would rather not deal with it because it is hard and uncomfortable.
Non-Christians know pain and darkness. They recognize it, and I’m not saying that Christians do not, but I would say that we try to get around it. Pain and darkness is not easy to talk about or to confront. Non-Christians realize when we try to get around a subject. I think we can bring more people to Christ and have a stronger witness if we are open and honest about our sin and the hard stuff that has happened in our lives. After all, darkness makes the light of Christ and our witness of his light in our lives even brighter.
I recently read an article about whether or not Christians should watch violent R-rated movies, and while that is not a topic I want to try to tackle right now, the article did have some interesting parts. The writer mentioned that without brokenness, the redemption of Christ would not be as powerful and I agree with this. This author’s argument was that oftentimes R-rated moves show true pain and darkness and that because of this their stories of sacrifice and redemption are in turn also much stronger.
A few weekends ago I watched “The Green Mile” for the first time. And while it is R-rated and does have some unsettling violence, I have to be honest when I say that I was deeply moved by it. I sat on my couch and sobbed for the last half hour of the movie and then some. Watching “The Green Mile” I had one of the most personal realizations of Christ and what he did for me that I have ever had. It was because of this movie, of the deep, heart-wrenching pain that the convict went through that I was able to see the true beauty of that sacrifice. I knew the beauty of the sacrifice because of the story of Christ. For the first time, the emotional pain of the sacrifice, the weight of a guilt-less man paying for a debt that was not his became truly real to me. Because of pain and darkness, the true beauty of Christ’s sacrifice was revealed to me.
I truly believe that if we are not real with people about sin, pain, and suffering, then we are not being good witnesses to what Christ has done for us. Christ gives us the power to triumph over these things and there is great freedom and beauty in that realization. As I was thinking about this the other day, I asked myself, if sin is not important, not real, or not acknowledged, then when is Christ’s sacrifice important? I think that when we ignore sin and skate around it, we downplay Christ’s sacrifice. Christ died to free us from sin, but if we do not acknowledge that sin, then we have taken away the meaning of his sacrifice.
All of these thoughts have been weighing on me and I simply wanted to share them with you. It is fine if you do not agree with me, and if you do not, this is something that I would like to discuss further. I hope that if you do not agree with what I have said, I have at least brought up something for you to think about. I simply want us to be real, even if it is uncomfortable.
I recently ran across the following quotes:
“It’s considered heresy in some circles. They consider consumerism shallow. … Whether they like it or not, religions are being forced to compete for members.” -Greg Smith
“We live in a competitive religious marketplace. You have to be competitive if you are going to attract and keep members.” -John Smith
Is your church a competitive force in the marketplace? Yes, those are very “business-y” words, but think about it, is your church “in the fight?”
For me, this seems like a strange way to approach evangelism. But it is also an interesting thought. I believe that our churches should not necessarily be in competition with each other but they should, instead, be in competition against the world and the devil. We should be competitive and passionate about getting people to our church. Now, I’m not saying that we need to be competitive and passionate about stealing people from other churches, but we need to be passionate in our evangelism.
And are we?
What do you think of these quotes?