I know I've read it at some point. And, while I really don't remember the content, the title has stuck with me.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how Christians treat other people - non-believers and each other. Generally speaking we do a pretty poor job of showing Jesus to those around us. Our love and the way we interact with the world should inspire people to say 'I want what they have!'. Instead we seem to give people reason to point at us and say, 'Why would I ever want to be a part of that?!'
Do we build up and encourage or do we tear down? Do we love radically or are we so concerned with being 'right' that we come across as angry and judgemental? Do we live lives that show mercy, peace, and kindness or our lives pretty much the same as everyone else?
I have a story to share from this past Sunday, but first I need to catch you up on what's been going on in my life lately.
I've been struggling. A lot. In this post I talked about an acquaintance I'm facebook friends with who is an atheist and will post very anti-Christian things every so often on facebook. Those posts have planted some seeds of doubt in my heart and mind. And, that doubt has been growing and festering in me for a few months.
I also shared here that I picked up a book written by a Christian woman who had experienced similar doubts and wrote about how she worked through the questions with which she struggled. I was hoping to find some answers or direction in that book, but instead I came away even more confused.
To put it simply I am in the midst of a spiritual crisis unlike any I've ever experienced before. Everything I've ever believed has been pulled into question. A perpetual debate is going on inside my head. I have been unable to discern the voices - which are from God...and which are from the enemy. I have been asking myself if God even exists. And, the ramifications of asking that question have been a crushing blow to my soul.
Even when I went through a very sinful, dark period in my 20's I still believed...I was just living out pain and rebellion. This crisis is so different. Everything is challenged. And, I'm struggling to hold on to my belief.
So, this Sunday our pastor spoke about spiritual warfare, about the many different ways that our enemy would love to destroy us. I have most certainly felt I've been in the middle of a battle. Often, at the end of the service there will be a ministry time. The congregation is dismissed, but those who would like to receive prayer can go to the front and meet with members of the ministry team.
I have a hard time admitting that I need help. I feel like I should be able to cope with spiritual issues through prayer and reading the Word. I feel like I should be strong enough to fight off doubt, depression, and fear. But, I've been failing miserably. So, I decided to go up front.
(I will continue this story in another post. Stay tuned for Part 2)