Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All the same

Gary's getting drunk to forget Sarah
Sarah's stealing money from her parents
Aaron's lying straight to John
About Megan and the things that went on
Jessica's a gossip
Laura's a slut
Derek hits Bridgette
Ben deals drugs
Seth spent all this money gambling
Joey stopped praying
It's all the same
We are all the same
People with sinning hearts
That make us equal

"Listening to Freddy Mercury" by Emery

Hi. My name is Aaron.

I'm 21 years old. I watch R rated movies, and I play violent video games. I listen to a lot of secular music, and I don't buy the edited versions. I curse a lot. I enjoy the taste of beer and drink a few times a week. I always forget to tithe. I make excuses for all the of the above, and am generally unrepentant when I say "shit", or judge someone based on what they're wearing. I am also a Christian, and I am just like you.

Christianity can be a messy, difficult thing. We each have our own opinions about what's right and what's wrong, and we spend hours into days debating the morality of this, the ethics of that. We argue over what the Bible says or doesn't say about grace and judgment, heaven and hell, and all the things that happen in the space between the two. We sit proudly on the general consensus that Jesus is the son of God, as well as the reason that we walk and breath (as well we should). When it comes to the details however, the little things, we often seem all too eager to decide the validity of each others faith based on a checklist of dos and don'ts. We over emphasize things that, when viewed from a broader, more enlightened perspective, might be called meaningless.

I say this not to excuse myself; my sin is no more acceptable than is murder or grand theft. I am no holier than the career criminal or the child molester. And while the purpose of this argument is not to debate the ethics of moderate alcohol consumption, or whether or not it was okay for me to see Watchmen (and enjoy it), these things bear testament to what this entry is really about.

Christians are sinners. We're as flawed as the world around us. We covet, lust, cheat, lie, have affairs and drink too much. Some times we read Maxim and Cosmopolitan, and we don't feel bad about it. We gossip, are two faced and dishonest. Some of us are gay. Some have had abortions. Some hate each other. We are not the shining, beautiful people that they taught us to be in Sunday School. From my side of the table at least, we look more like the world every day. You can say this is due to a decay in the fabric of society's morals, or blame it on unfaithfulness, or use fancy, churchy words like "backsliding", but in my mind it's all a part of the human experience. Like it or not, we live in the world. We're here, and until God calls us home, we're stuck here.

And of course, we should do our best to live the way we're called to live. We should do our damnedest, day after day to set an example and portray Christ through our actions. The problem is that we can't, at least not all the time. This, of course, is where grace comes in.

Scripture tells us to worry about the plank in our own eye before removing the dust from the eyes of a friend. This can be, and often is, taken as an admonishment against hypocritical nitpicking. I see it not only as being thus, but also as having another similar meaning: your relationship with God is for you, and not anyone else, to worry about. Your friend's relationship with God is their own business. We can't save each other. Only one man was ever up to the task, and he's already taken care of it. By comparison, our job is far simpler - love each other.

I promise you this, and I say it with stone cold certainty: your relationship with God is not dependent upon anyone else's. It will not damage your ability to believe if everyone around you isn't living the way you think they should. Of course, we should council and rebuke one another (in love), but council and rebuke are a far cry from judgment. We so often swing towards the latter.

And at the end of the day, if we're to be honest with ourselves, is the kid in your youth group who smokes weed really all that different from you? We're all made of the same chemicals, have the same maker, and one day, we'll all stand before the same throne. We all have the same task to perform, and we all fail in it.

We are all the same, Christians and non-Christians alike. The only thing which divides us is a single decision, and it is this decision which should bring us together. Not tear us apart. We are all the same.


Krenz said...

I love you AJ. You write splendidly, and truthfully. I can only hope to be half as insightful as you. Thank you!

Jeremy said...

Even though we live in the world, we should not act like the world, as Peter tells us. Let us not give excuses to our own sin, but let us embrace it since through Christ we can do all things

Ben said...

I think a better question than right or wrong is "What is the wise thing to do?"

We can justify anything to be right or wrong, but when we ask ourselves what is wise we get a whole new perspective and it is usually the right thing. Wisdom is something God has given in abundance.

I think our faith is defined by our actions and even though I may be the same in God's eyes as everyone else in the world, my life style doesn't reflect it. In fact if I didn't "walk wisely" my life would look a lot less like the love of Christ had changed me.

I think it's good that you make the first admission much like Paul claimed to be the chief of sinners. But remember that his life after an encounter with Christ changed forever.

It is possible to not be judgmental
and walk wisely. One of my favorite songs puts it this way. "I refuse to play the part of the struggling believer, or the overachiever who tries not to fall from you"

I think this is only possible when we are in a constant state of abiding in the Lord.

John 8:32

Aaronus Prime said...

The main focus of this entry was to highlight the fact that everyone is equal in God's eyes, and that none of us are above anyone else. Perhaps I went a little too all over the place in saying so. It's stated pretty well in Romans 3:10. Thanks for your comments, guys.