Faith Column: Fact or feeling
No one is perfect
People can hurt you.
I know this to be true because I have been on both sides of the pain. Like everyone else, I have been hurt by a decent amount of people. Unfortunately, I am also aware that I have hurt a great number of individuals (more than I probably even realize). I have a very large mouth, a lot of thoughts in my brain and a very small filter between the two.
At this point you must be thinking, “but Jacqueline, you write the faith column! Doesn’t that mean you are completely perfect?” Oh… No? That wasn’t what you were thinking? Good. I’m really glad that isn’t the case because that would be ridiculous.
No matter how silly perfection sounds, it seems that often people of faith are viewed that way. Or maybe you’ve met some people of faith who like to think of themselves as perfect, and on their behalf I apologize. The truth is that no one is perfect. We all screw up and make a lot of mistakes. So, why is it that countless people walk away from their faith as soon as someone within their faith community causes them pain? It leads me to question what people are basing their faith on these days. Is faith based on fact or feeling?
Some of my closest friends:
1. Never step foot in a church because the last time they went, the people kind of just stared and didn’t seem kind at all.
2. Disown their belief in an almighty God because if God was kind — why did their boyfriend break-up with them?
3. Never give faith a chance because those extremely faithful people are breeding too much hate, and no one wants anything to do with a God like that.
Are these legitimate feelings to have? Absolutely. They grieve me, though, because they are based on exactly that: feelings. The truth behind what defines a deity is none of the above. Most of the time, the truth about God is that He is loving, compassionate, and patient in nature. He is the one who is perfect. Why do we replace our understanding of a perfect God with his imperfect people attempting to live out all of these characteristics? It’s not even possible! Yet, for some reason, we expect more from His people than they can give.
At this point, I need to insert a couple of disclaimers. Yes, Christians are called to represent Christ on Earth. Therefore, if we screw up, it will obviously harm your view of Christ. What can I say? It wasn’t my idea to put imperfect humans in charge of spreading God’s love – I just do my feeble best to try and live it out. Secondly, there are a lot of questions about suffering in the world and God being just. We can get to that some other time, just not right now.
What I’m trying to say is don’t let your ever-changing feelings be the treasure map leading you to faith (or even keeping you there). I hope that your faith brings you joy and fuzzy feelings, but recognize that this probably won’t be the case a 100 per cent of the time.
Just like a human relationship, you may love and trust someone, but not feel all lovey-dovey all the time. Do you end a relationship the second you get bored or things get tough? I hope not. The same goes for your faith. It needs to be based off of a long standing trust and a foundation of truth. Maybe your foundation is crumbling, or maybe you haven’t even laid the first stone yet. Wherever you are at, try and keep your heart in check and your brain turned on.