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stopsinningI really enjoyed this little thought provoking meme, so I simply stole it. Stealing is a sin in case anyone wondered, but I actually say that a bit tongue and cheek,  with all good humor. Memes kind of exist in this grey area and get passed around so much, it’s nearly impossible to find out were they originated. “Stealing memes,” is kind of the whole point of memes.

So “lying fer Jesus” has been a theme among atheists over at Mel’s place, and others too,  almost like the anti theists got up early and got their daily talking points from the mothership.

So the accusation is that everyone is lying, that anybody can just start an orphanage, feed the hungry, lay down their very lives for their brothers, and concoct a good conversion story. No Jesus required.

Ha! Well I dare you to try it. I double dare you! Please do! Set aside all pride, envy, chaos, confusion, and just go forth and love your neighbor. Like, amen! Feel free to forgive your enemies, to place others before yourself, and to stop sinning. (Of course without some kind of moral standard and some Divine wisdom, it’s very hard to even define “sin” in the first place.)

In a totally secular, evolutionary context, loving others really makes no sense. It is totally contrary to survival, unless you’re getting something out of the deal. It makes sense not to bash the hand that feeds you, but on the other hand should the opportunity arise, it makes far more sense to just bash them over the head and steal all their stuff. Concepts like love, duty, honor, loyalty, sacrifice just don’t fit well in the context of survival of the fittest.

That’s the cultural narrative, the larger picture. I mean “the golden rule” has been around for thousands of years and yet in spite of our best efforts, we still don’t seem to be living it. We still have wars, people starving in the world, huge income disparities, power tripping, theft, warlords. Like, somebody has sure dropped the golden rule ball here…..

But on a smaller, more personal  level, “just stop sinning” is tragically comical in it’s sheer futility. We people do have freewill and yet so frequently we use our will to chose bad things, addiction, destruction, revenge, self abuse, broken relationships, greed, porn, power. We replay childhood scripts, we indulge in great offense, we seek retribution, revenge, rebellion.

I’m one of those pragmatic people so like, if every time you bang your head on the wall it hurts, just stop banging your head on the wall.  Easy peasy! I say that knowing perfectly well, I sure don’t. I do not get up in the morning, pray, eat 3 cups of carrots, go jogging, and spend the rest of the day serving others. I like biscuits and gravy, cheesecake, and if you ever see me running, somebody is chasing me.

Those are my more amusing struggles. I mean, cheesecake is not necessarily “sin,” it is just one of those things that is not really very good for us, like whiskey, cigars, and chocolate, and yet we sure wantz them.

Most of the people I know are actually involved in sin as self abuse, almost compulsively, like it’s an odd quirk, an ingrained part of human nature. Like, if we can’t even manage to love ourselves properly, we’re going to really struggle to love others as they need to be loved, too.

Romans 7:14 to 20 addresses this matter,  “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me.  For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

In the absence of Jesus Christ, in the absence of grace, in the absence of metanoia, of transformation, that is simply where we live, in that place of “I do not understand what I do.” And even with Jesus Christ, we are often still works in progress. Sometimes He heals us instantly and sometimes He leaves us to wrestle with things. Sometimes we’re going along good, we got it  all figured out…..and then we forget where we even put it. It’s a process, people are somewhat fluid in how we grow.

But leave Jesus out of the equation and without fail, as a culture,as individuals, we simply spiral downwards….

So, most Christians are not “lying fer Jesus, ” we are being brutally honest, we are testifying to the truth of who we are, and the truth of who He is. We are testifying to what He has done in our lives, Who He really is, and why it all matters. I suppose there is corruption everywhere, but for the most part nobody actually gets a commission or a prize for spreading the good news. Like, in order to be lying there must be a purpose, a motivation, an intent, and also probably a secret organization. For Christianity to be part of some 2000 yr old conspiracy theory, you’re going to need the Bilderbergers and Iluminati working together in a coordinated manner. I’m pretty sure those two groups don’t even like one another.

Jesus Christ saves, He transforms, He fixes everything, and the truthful testimonies of so many over thousands of years, really matters. It is actually “sin” to falsely accuse good people of lying, to attempt to shame and silence them, and to assign hostile intentions and false motivations to things and to people that you don’t really understand.

 

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