I am so thankful for Christianity. That probably sounds odd, or lame, or both. But the longer I live, the more I test out my Christian beliefs in more of the real world, and the more amazed I am at Christianity’s ability to explain this world and to allow me to thrive within it.
Francis Schaeffer always said that Christianity offers an explanation for all of life. It speaks to everything. And I keep finding that he’s right about that. We sometimes think that Christianity is about going to heaven when we die, but it provides the only accurate and profound answer to everything we encounter.
I am thankful…
To be able to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve forgiveness, and to know that justice is still served. Because the wicked will be punished, and because Jesus was punished on behalf of the wicked who trust in him, justice will be completely served in this universe. I can always forgive because Christ forgave first, and because vengeance belongs to him. This gives me unbelievable freedom and joy in relationships.
To be able to tell my daughters that they will see their dead loved ones again—and mean it. The loss of a loved one is unbearable. And yet I am so comforted that when a believing friend or family member dies, I will be able to look my daughters in the eye and tell them truthfully, “You will see him again, and it will be amazing!”
To be able to point my daughters to Jesus as an example of forgiveness—and everything. This morning I was talking to one of my girls about what to do if her sister hits her. How amazing that I can explain that Jesus was hit, wounded, and even killed, and that he did not hit back! Parenting would be so difficult without the example of Jesus.
To be able to explain and value the good in this world. When I see people doing good, pursuing good, praising good, I don’t have to wonder why people who don’t see the world as I see it can still do good things. I believe in a God who made a very good world, and who still showers his goodness in all corners of this world, even when some people want nothing to do with him.
To be able to explain and oppose the evil in this world. Contrary to some world religions, I don’t have to accept evil as simply “the way it is.” And I can fight against the evil in this world without fighting against God (as in some Eastern religions). This is God’s good world, and though he permits evil for a time, he has sacrificed himself to defeat evil and he will one day remove it entirely.
To be able to point people to the power of love, and know that it’s something deeper than the power of positive thinking. Love can be a cheesy concept—Why can’t we all just love one another? And yet I believe in a God who is love. I can say with a straight face that true, self-sacrificing love is the most powerful force in the universe.
To be affirmed in my deep understanding that I am not good enough, and to be reminded that that was never the point anyway. Every day I am proven right in my suspicions that I’m actually a horrible person. And Christianity told me that this is what I would find about myself. Yet Christianity also reminds me daily that my value is not dependent on my performance, and that Jesus saved me while I was a sinner. There are no words to express how amazing this reality is.
To be affirmed in my love for this world. Contrary to some religions (such as Gnosticism or Buddhism) that see this world as icky or illusory, I can look around at this world, love and enjoy it deeply, and be affirmed in this by the Creator. He made a good world and placed us within it. What a joy to have the freedom to love the world God made!
To be affirmed in my love for the people around me. I don’t have to be in competition with the people around me. I don’t have to hate them. I can value them as bearers of the image of God. I can see their value, and love them with the love of Christ.
To know that God is there, and that he loves deeply. I am part of one of the very few world religions that sees God as a personal being who cares about what happens in this world. I belong to the ONLY religion that understands that God cares so much about us that he sacrificed himself for the sake of human beings. There is so much comfort in these profound truths!
To know that no godly effort in this life will be in vain. I don’t have to wonder if my sacrifice for the sake of God and his kingdom will be worth it in the end. I am promised that every bit of suffering, every bit of effort, every single undertaking done for the Lord has value, and none of it will be wasted (1 Cor. 15:58).
This list can (and should) go on forever. Christianity is more than a dusty, lifeless belief system. It is the self-revelation of the infinite-personal God who is the only foundation for reality. I am so thankful for God and for his accurate, artful, and brilliant revelation to us.