Why be a Christian, right? We're hypocrites, shallow, weak-minded, corrupt.
Be that as it may. I think the faith has more to offer than the caricatures sometimes offered by some media figures or popular non-believers.
To have a fresh start, let's approach Christ's unique message this way: what he has to offer us is a world unimaginable, free from wickedness, deceit, evil and death.
Have you ever looked out at the world and felt that something was wrong? Have you ever wanted to change the world? Has wrongful, untimely death ever saddened or disgusted you? Has crime, hunger, hate, fear, abuse or cycles of poverty ever made you sense unjustice or tugged on your heart strings?
Now, what do you think it would take to fix these things?
Accidents aside, change would take radically different attitudes and actions on all our parts.
It would take a commitment to justice and fairness. It would also take mercy and forgiveness to heal the hurt. How can we exit cycles of gang violence without something being the first to take a risk, lay down their arms and forgive?
How can we end poverty without reaching out to others and treating each other as equals? How can we end hunger and homeless without giving up some of what we have so that others can share in the gifts?
Now: the behaviors that perpetuate world suffering, what are they?
Greed, selfishness, vengeance, the need to "get-what's-mine" even if that means lying, taking more than I need, or even depriving someone else so that I can have it. Even in little things: who among us hasn't ever tried to be the first in line so that we assure ourselves that we get some of whatever's there: food, money, prestige.
These little things: selfishness, the feeling of entitlement, privileging ourselves over others. We all do it. These are just slightly smaller versions of the same drives that led to murder, fraud, and acquisitiveness. They are called sin.
Sin is real, and it's the cause of the evils we see in the world. It's the cause of the little (and sometimes big) evils that we do and create.
To heal these pernicious drives and actions, to restore the world to goodness, to where all humanity can rejoice in living life, we are required to look less to ourselves and to look selflessly to the good of others. This is the message of Jesus. This is the message of the Cross.
Jesus is God and he became a mortal man. He lived with us in our human condition (though perfectly free from sin); he suffered betrayal for us. He suffered the cross for us. He looked to our good instead of his own, giving up his life to forgive the legacy of our sins, the evils we had created and continue to create.
He showed us how to love, how to put others first. He gave us instructions: love they neighbor as thyself, cloth the naked, minister to the imprisoned, feed the hungry, shelter the homeless. Most importantly, love God with all your strength, all your heart, all your soul and all your mind.
Why is that the cure? Because it puts ourselves in perspective. When we see the reality of who we are as a child of God who loves us, we see also that all persons are children of God and that he loves them too. Seeing ourselves in our smallness as but one of these, we can begin to participate in God's love by reaching out to his beloved children and caring for them as he does.
There is no need to seek for our own disordered gain or recognition for when we love God as the highest, we know what matters is to give to Him and to his children. We partake in God's inner life (grace) by reaching out. There is no need to glorify ourselves or seek for reward in this life; in fact, a life of life-giving love may require the highest sacrifice of earthly good (as Christ sacrificed his life)--the Christian's reward to spend eternal life in Heaven with God.
Only in the light of God's love and hope for the afterlife can we put aside our selfish desires that lead us to serve ourselves. Only through Christ's gift can we gradually stamp out our own sin and bring healing to others and to the world.
It's not glamorous. It won't make you famous or rich. It probably won't even make you well-respected. But it will change the world. If we all seek the grace to amend our own lives and harmful habits, the world would be healed. If we start with just ourselves, and let Christ grow outward from us, we will be able to reach the world.
We are not a Church of perfect people, but we can work on it with the help of Christ. Only through Christ, can we look beyond this world away from our earthly good. And only by looking beyond our earthly good, can we put away our selfishness in order to give our lives abundantly to the world and heal it.
The question is not: Is the faith relevant? A life of faith couldn't be more relevant to a fallen world.The question is: How can we share Christ's healing love with all the world?PS: There is, of course, way, way more to the Christian faith. This is just the beginnings of an apologetic- a new way to present the faith
.Do you think this is an accurate account of what Jesus offers to the world? What do you think is the purpose of being a Christian? To answer the author's question, how can we share Christ's healing love with all the world?