A Personal Reflection: A Human with Faith
I follow Jesus. And I am human.
To be human is to experience all that relates to or affects humans, including faith. Statistics say that at least 85% of the humans in the world have faith in the supernatural. I think it is more like 97% for many reasons, but will give only one reason - Humans have an innate need to connect to something bigger than themselves. We are created to connect to our Creator. Faith is a part of our humanity.
While most of the world’s faiths have many of the same types of commandments – rules for love, rules to treat others as yourself (the Golden Rule), rules for not harming self and others – it is impossible to have faith without disagreements. To disagree is human. It is possible to disagree and still love and respect others. But increasingly we are losing the art of disagreeing. More and more I find that to disagree is to be unloving, in large part because the screamers and bullies, and in very sad extreme cases, the killers, get the most attention, ruining it for the rest of us. You can disagree with me and it’s OK. I believe in Jesus. And I hope you do too. However, most true believers in Jesus in this world will not run you down if you do not believe as they do. I’m sorry if the few already have. Disagreeing is not wrong; it is simply having a different expression of faith. And hopefully the conversations of faith will lead us closer to the Truth.
To err is human. While this may sound like an excuse for hypocrisy, nobody can be perfect at the faith they profess. I do not mind being vulnerable if it shows that people of faith can be real. However, on my journey of faith, I have found that those who have little or no faith are most critical of my expression of faith. If I am too vulnerable with my humanity, then I am perceived as being hypocritical, two-faced, lacking trust in the God I profess. If I am not vulnerable enough, then I am self-righteous, sanctimonious, “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.”
I have been amazed that other expressions of messy humanness - messy values, messy ideologies, messy sexuality, messy gender, messy relationships - are much, much more acceptable in our society than messy faith. I follow Jesus, but not because Jesus is a vaccine for life, a cure of humanness. I follow Jesus not only because I can intellectually connect the historical and logical parts of the faith, but also because there will always be the component of faith by which it is defined - a faith. I have faith in Jesus. And my faith is part of my humanity.
Faith moves us towards full humanness, not away from it. Faith frees me from the things that keep me broken and lost. I have faith, and life still happens. It is sad when the people of faith get mocked for life happening to them, “Where is your God now?” My God is with me through it all. As a human, I respond to life’s joys and pains, peace and struggles, blessings and misfortunes with varying degrees of faith. My behavior reveals that. I am human. But I know that God is with me. I can be sure that no struggle, hardship, pain, or loss will separate me from God’s love through Jesus (Romans 8:38-39). The grace of God through Jesus daily cleans up my humanity making me more into the man God created me to be (Lamentations 3:22-23; Ephesians 2:8-9). Grace through faith means my humanness is without condemnation (John 3:17, Romans 8:1). In Jesus, I am fully free to be the human that I was created to be. And so are you.
If you are around me enough, you will hear me say that I have two addictions: Jesus and my wife. I am human because I have faith in God through Jesus, and I have faith in us - faith that keeps me moving in the right direction.