Being the Evidence

Being the Evidence

Sep 22, 2015

Being the Evidence

by Katrina Goodrich

“Ugh! You just ruined that for me. I wasted 13 years of my life with the whole Christian thing and I don’t want to even be reminded of that.”

This was the reaction of a friend to an offhand comment made about the resemblance of a piece of décor she had previously liked to a Christian symbol. Right then was not the time or place to enter in to a theological, or obviously emotionally charged, conversation regarding Christianity. It wasn’t a good time to ask why she felt that way. But because of the obvious vehemence with which she delivered the words, it was a hard statement to ignore and even harder to forget.

Hearing things like this make me wonder why people turn away so forcefully from Christ? Thirteen years is a long time to believe and then do a 180 to adamantly reject the life that was being cultivated. It’s not just belief that lost its enthusiasm and became a stagnant zombie-like religion, a poor mimicry of the real covenant between Christ and his followers. This is flat-out hatred of the things which used to be valued — a bitterness.

I don’t know why this particular person is so bitter about faith, but I do know that she is not the only person who feels that way. There are many people who have grown up in church, been happy there and later bitterly rejected their faith. But, you don’t always get to know the reason why someone leaves their faith behind. I get caught up in thinking that I can’t affect anything unless I know all the particulars of a situation. But that’s not the truth — it’s my curiosity and helplessness. Because I am so tied up in figuring out the exact best way to defend God to a specific person, I miss the opportunity to do it. I can’t know the best way without having all the variables — right?

The truth is, the person who really needs that information already knows all the particulars of the situation: the ones able to be expressed and those unexpressed. God knows. We really don’t need to know the particulars of every situation. Perhaps we just need to understand one thing.

The root cause of people turning away from Christ stems from an inaccurate view of God. Somewhere along the journey their sight of a sovereign, omnipotent, loving creator has become scarred, marring their vision and leading them to reject the true love of Christ. It is difficult to understand the perfection of God in this fallen world, where there is only imperfection. If we, those who follow Christ can understand that, no matter the circumstances we can be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks about the hope we have in Jesus, no matter how bitterly the question is put. When the truth of who God is comes to light, who can turn away?

Businesswoman showing stop gesture

Our role in life on this earth is to be the evidence of God’s character, helping to heal the scars and provide proof of who God is to the world — correcting a fallen perception of God. This may take a moment or a lifetime. We don’t have to have the perfect thing to say or provide a bulletproof argument to those with an opposing view (though sometimes that will happen). What is truly in question is God’s character, not ours. We don’t have to worry. He’s perfect. Even though we are still imperfect vessels prone to weakness and sin, every time we choose to follow Christ, a little more of the truth shows through.

Knowing why a person has decided to leave the faith may help us to understand her but isn’t necessary. As long as we are striving to follow Christ, His truth will shine through us and provide the best evidence of His love we can give.

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