Years ago there was an enjoyable TV comedy programme featuring a grumpy old man – Victor Meldrew – who regularly expressed his frustration by saying “I don’t believe it.” I hope I’m not grumpy, but there are certainly some things I don’t believe. And, like Victor, I’m going to be rather frank.
Firstly, here are some things I do believe and have done for almost 60 years:
- God is infinitely loving: he is love.
- He decided to express his love by:
- becoming a man
- dying an excruciatingly painful death
- enduring intense spiritual suffering
- By doing this:
- He shared all human pain and suffering
- He bore the result of all human selfishness, injustice, betrayal, hatred, violence.
- So now, having risen triumphant from the dead, he offers forgiveness and eternal life to unworthy people like me as a free gift and the only condition is that we respond in faith.
So much for what I do believe. Now for what I don’t believe. If someone comes to me and says: “I’m a Christian. I believe all that. I believe Jesus died for us” but it doesn’t really change their life, I don’t believe them. I’m not saying they are being dishonest. It’s rather that they haven’t really thought through what they say they believe.
How can anyone really believe the facts I have outlined above without wholeheartedly committing themselves to God? How can it possibly not affect us emotionally? How can it not lead us to endeavour to turn away from the failings in our lives for which he died?
I know that sometimes people make a gradual journey towards faith. Their understanding and their response grows. They need to get the answers to some questions. That’s fine.
I know we’re all imperfect, and fail at times, so we have to apologise to God and to others, and to seek his help to do better. I can accept that.
But I can’t understand those who seem to remain mere admirers of the Christian Faith, those who continue to be happy to say the Creed (in theory or in practice) but show little or no commitment to Christ.
In a nutshell, I don’t accept you can really believe the Good Friday and Easter Day story without being committed to Christ.
Why not deepen your commitment to Christ perhaps by joining an Alpha Course (see Alpha.org) near you or attending a home group.
© Tony Higton: see conditions for reproduction