Now, here’s a strange thing relating to what I wrote less than three weeks ago: I tried what I talked about then, telling people the simple truth, that I am the rottenest, most awful, horrible sinner who ever lived, and that I deserve only to have died a long time ago and gone directly to Hell.
Most of those I said that to are members of the Church of which I also am a member. And, without exception, the response was that I was wrong, that it could not possibly be true, that no one is that awful, etc.
I call “BS” on all of that. Here’s my thought for those who responded that way: If you don’t believe what you profess before others to believe every time you take Holy Communion, that there is and can be no merit in me, and by implication in you, that somehow there is a thing of some kind in some or all of us that can and will contribute to our redemption, salvation, and glorification, then there is only one thing you can do.
That thing is this: Get out of a Church that teaches precisely those things, for if you remain in that Church, you are lying, first to yourself, then to others, and finally to God the Lord Almighty. That’s not a good thing to be doing, people.
It occurs to me that I've been doing something completely awful, and doing it often, for practically all my life, and now it's time to come clean about it. Here we go.
Every day, my experience has been that some number of people will ask me, "How are you doing?" It's probably safe to say that the same thing is true of you. How do I most often answer that question? How do you answer it most often? I expect that I know the answer, "I'm just fine, doing well, how are you?"
We're going to leave aside the question regarding the sincerity of what those other people ask us, because it's pretty common knowledge that they could not care less how we are doing; they are just being "polite". Now, really, isn't that the truth? Honestly, have you ever answered to the effect that you're having an awful time of things and received anything like an interested query in return? My guess is that you have not.
From time to time I answer with, "I'm doing just fine, thanks to Jesus. Otherwise, not so well at all." Of course, that is absolutely true, but I don't think it goes far enough, in some way.
What if I simply answered with the whole truth? How about this for an honest reply: "I'm the dirtiest, rottenest, sorriest, meanest, most evil and putrid and self-centered sinner that ever drew clean air and got one heartbeat or brain wave laid after another, and I deserve none of it and ought to have died and gone straight to Hell a long time ago." I just might get the chance to follow that with, "But Jesus took care of all of that, and that's what I want you to know, because it is all that matters."
(Yes, of course, they're long out of earshot by the time I have said all of that. So possibly some refinement is in order.)
Now, that is simply honesty. It might be brutal, and it might be other things. But one thing it is not is dishonest. In the end it is also neither disinterested nor unloving.
Do you think such an answer might provoke your questioner to at least think about the more important things? I think it is more possible that might happen than it is if we just keep answering, with a smile, "I'm doing great! How about you?"
Good Lord! Why would someone I had just lied to want to hear anything more from me?
What do you think?