If you haven’t read the blog article “I was a Hardcore Christian and this is Why I Lost my Faith” by Jessie Golem, I suggest you do. If you are even remotely serious about defending your faith, this article is a great sample of the world’s ideology. For those who haven’t heard of this article, it has been published in a number of online newspapers and the writer has been interviewed on a Victoria, BC, radio station. This shows how deeply the world thrives on the deceit of Satan. In essence, the writer, a young woman I had coffee with a little over a year ago, writes about being raised in a Christian school and church, her witness to the hypocrisy in many churches, and the experience of deep pain in her life through abuse and intolerance. She concludes that God either has abandoned her, or that He does not exist—the latter being easier to swallow, for her.
Golem claims that if God is good, why didn’t He swoop in and save the day when she was being assaulted, or why didn’t he cleanse the church of sinners? The answer is because He loves us. Crazy, right? To love means to desire the good of another. Since we were made to love, the height of our being is when we freely love, when we choose another over ourselves, by an act of the will. Is love love without freedom? Absolutely not; then it is robotic slavery. We, as a species, chose to deny Him, to take our own way.
“The church is for hypocrites;” my youth pastor said these words as we discussed what Golem had written. (If you have read the article, this is the same guitar-strumming youth pastor who went to school singing feel-good Christian songs.) As we mulled over the words he had just declared, it was clear that the Church is not for those who are already righteous, those who are already cleansed of sin, those whose ways are completely straight. NO. The Church is for those who fall daily, who need redemption from their current sinfulness, who are broken in the very depths of their being. Why would anyone go to Church if they were already perfect?
“Time doesn’t heal, Jesus does.” I sat in that church staring at this young woman who was bravely speaking of when her father died in her arms. She spoke these words over us: “time doesn’t heal, Jesus does.” This woman had experienced such deep grief, yet had turned to the arms of Christ.
As a Catholic who has witnessed the hypocrisy in the church, and as a member of the broken body of Christ where I mourn my sister’s eating disorder and suicidal depression, where I hold the hand of my Agnostic brother, where I look in the eyes of my porn-addicted friend, where I fight daily for the three hundred children who were ripped to pieces by abortion today, how could I not lose my faith?
The answer is because of love. Love is seen in four ways: to give and to be given, to accept and to be accepted, to know and to be known, and to forgive and to be forgiven. God gave us the gift of freedom, the ability to choose and reject Him, and it is in that gift, that love, that He finds His greatest joys and His deepest sorrows. The very fact that we, as a species, can love primarily blows my mind to pieces, and then reassures me of my deepest convictions. The holy people of this world have experienced the deepest kinds of pain, rejection, and sorrow. What have they done in the face of this? Been convinced that God mustn’t love them? Decided that God does not exist? Turned to their self for help out of their distress? No, the holy people of this world have turned to God in their brokenness and asked for His help. Yet, they did not stop there. No, they continued and were more dedicated than ever to bringing the Gospel to the world and to fighting for the Kingdom of Mercy.
ne drop of Jesus blood could have saved him from an eternity of pain, despair, and loneliness. Is Hitler in Heaven? This I do not know, but I do know that it is not impossible. It would have taken only one drop in the ocean of mercy to cleanse his sin, though.
That same young woman mentioned above who had lost her father declared over us; “when I thought God wasn’t there, when I felt alone, abandoned, when I felt like God wasn’t speaking to me, He was quietly answering my prayers, I just couldn’t hear Him over the sound of my own fear.”