I’m guilty of it.
Almost every time something bad happens, or things just aren’t going well; in the midst of my distress I use a four-letter word to describe how I feel, a four-letter-word that starts with “F”.
My word choice angers God, I bet.
“Fine, I’m fine.”
F . i . n . e . Ever lied with that word? To yourself? To someone else?
I’ve been barely treading water before and when someone has kindly reached out to inquire: “How are you doing?”, I immediately dismiss their sincere willingness to listen. I refuse to accept the invitation to share/vent/explain. I shut down with the words “I’m fine.”
Why do we do that so often to one another, ourselves, our God!? We think we are protecting ourselves or just being polite, but we are surely angering Him.
The Bible says the Lord hates… a lying tongue (Proverbs 6).
When we say we’re “fine,” but inside we are less than okay, we are deceivers. Our untruth violates His truth. But somehow, we believers have made this business of being ‘fine’ a common practice. Hope is hard, yet we try to keep it all together or at least let everyone think we have it all together.
…Ya with me?
I can’t be the only one who has ever been turned off by (but also guilty of) the “shiny happy people” projection of Christianhood. We live under a lie that we have to be joyful, righteous, spirited and rock-solid all the time or else our faith is weak. But that is untruthful and misleading. We’ve got to be honest… Christianity is not spiritual morphine or some vaccination against Satan’s lies.
As a writer named Sarah Summer puts it: “It is painful to be truthful, because there is much to grieve in this shattered, beautiful world. In order to be truthful, we must be willing to grieve—that is, to face hard truths that are disappointing and upsetting. It’s tempting to pretend that things are better than they are, as if the world were not in dire need of Christ’s salvation. It’s also tempting to despair and fall for the opposite lie, that things are just so bad they are hopeless.”
The Bible calls, Satan “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44), all lies big and small. White lies, innocent lies, even protective lies, are credited to Satan’s character.
The “I’m fine all the time” lie, while not a colossal lie on the sinner-Richter-scale, is still corrosive. It hollows us out and eats away at the connective tissue that is our shared grief and pain. Fighting to maintain hope means we’ve got to be honest, not just with our tight-knit huddles, but to the shopper looking into the church through the window of our lives. We have to be willing to share in the world’s grief and be honest that: while Jesus has fixed our souls, our world and all the humanity occupying it, is still so heartbreakingly broken.
What do the faithless see in us Believers? Do they see sinners masquerading as holy saints? Or do they see a place to shed worldly despair in exchange for real grace and open truth? Are we real?
As another writer, Frederica Mathewes-Green, describes, “The ‘real’ in Christianity doesn’t have to do with our emotional burdens, but with the raw fact of our sin. The good news is not that God makes us feel better, but that he is King and Lord.”
While the maturing of a Christian life should surely bear fruit ripening with His glory, we must not hide the raw cuts of our ever-present sin.
I’m a sinner.
I’m a liar.
I am not righteous.
Hopers, today let’s drop the lie that “I’m fine” and hold fast only to the Lord’s righteous love that says: “You’re mine.”
“There is no one righteous, not even one …. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit” Romans 3:10-13