The Hidden Dangers of Defending Beliefs

Going viral.

It’s what every writer dreams about, right? Creating something out of nothing, and then having that “something” work its way around the globe and touch lives. That’s what I used to think until I had something go viral. That’s when you learn the term “virus” is very appropriate.

Virus
/ˈvī-rəs/
noun

Something that spreads fast and makes you feel like crap
(Definition courtesy of Scott New Revised Standard Dictionary)

I wrote what I thought was a fairly harmless piece about how Christians misuse the term “blessed” when referring to material windfalls. It was a self-deprecating, reflective rant.   I posted it to my blog without half a thought then wandered to the kitchen table to enjoy a chili diner with my family. My indigestion was still in its infancy when I wandered back to my computer, but my email box was already filled with comments from complete strangers.

Some positive.

Some not.

You know that feeling you get when someone at work lovingly points out your mistakes? Or when your spouse tells you your favorite shirt is an embarrassment to clothing?   Multiply that times one hundred.

It’s a hopeless feeling.

There were dozens of people praying for my soul. Others called me a heretic. Still more were concerned about my relationships. Whatever the case, every time I opened my inbox, I was greeted by a barrage of Christian brothers and sisters who had devoted paragraphs to explaining how misguided I was.

Here’s a sampling:

     “Sounds like a load of crap to me.”

     “(Your post) shows what an empty “religious” spirit you have regarding your understanding of this area of God’s awesomeness.”

And my personal favorite, which showed up numerous times in reference to my alluding that my friend and I engaged in some back-and-forth “Yo Mama” jokes:

          “So Mr. Dannemiller, you haven’t yet addressed my question: why is it okay to minimize the sin of disparaging your mother by treating it with a casual offhand remark that makes it seem okay?”

There were still more people who were “concerned for my heart” and worried that “the Enemy had won the battle for my soul.” I felt like I was floundering under an avalanche of negativity. So I did what any good husband would do.

I forwarded all of the incoming mail to my wife’s inbox.

Gabby happily served as a sponge for the comments. I’m not sure if this was because she was able to disassociate from the barbs, or because she saw it as some sort of karma payback for my refusal to lower the toilet seat these past twelve years. Whatever the case, she graciously held on to the comments until I was ready to absorb them, and then shared them with me.

I wasn’t surprised that people had alternate points of view. That was to be expected. And I guess it serves me right, given that my article took such a strong stance, pointing out how even the most well-intentioned words can actually push people away from faith.

However, two things did surprise me.

First, I noticed that some of the most encouraging notes came from atheists. They were defending my honor like a big brother. Sending private messages and sharing public comments validating what they saw as an open, self-examined faith. One posted on a public site for non-believers:

“If more Christians believed like this, maybe there wouldn’t even be a need for this forum? We could all just have honest conversations and get along without judgment.”

And another private message:

“Sleep well tonight knowing that you have witnessed well for your Lord.”

None of them converted to the faith, mind you. But I did enter into a number of intriguing conversations, sharing perspectives and learning. It seems there was something about this distinctly spiritual post that spoke to something universally human. A source of hope and promise that resides in all of us, no matter what name you give it.

Second, I was surprised by the comments from the most devout believers. I certainly expected different points of view. Any article that ask people to examine their beliefs should prompt discussion, right? What I didn’t expect was that the nuggets of condemnation, guilt and shame would come wrapped in scripture. Like receiving a steaming pile of poo in a Jesus-themed gift bag.

Image

* Warning:  Open at your own risk.

I reflected on these messages and saw hypocrisy in my own words. I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to cherry-picking a red-lettered quote to prove my point. But this was more than just a mirror reflecting my pride. This was a magnifying glass exposing a larger problem.

We spend far too much time defending our beliefs at God’s expense.

And it needs to stop.

We think faith is certain. Well-defined. Concrete.  So we spout black and white answers in a gray-green world. We use The Word as a hammer to encourage a new way of thinking. And in doing so, we become ever more certain of our beliefs, basking in self-righteousness and judgment, all the while forgetting that God dwells in the uncertain, ambiguous places filled with question and doubt. Still we swing that same hammer at nails that are already driven flush into the wood.

And we’re missing the point.

Every day we come face-to-face with people who are searching for hope. They are facing trials and disappointments we cannot fathom. And in these trials they need more than words. As Christians, as much as we would like to bring an end to their suffering or right past wrongs, we can’t guarantee the rosy outcome through platitudes and pithy quotes. It’s in these moments we should be reminded of these words.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone
who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.
1 Peter 3:15

When I search for the seed of hope, I never find it in words alone. Nor is it found by recalling times in my life when good fortune has miraculously come my way. No, the tangible seed that sustains – true hope – is found when logic fails and all seems lost. And here, the hope arrives as flesh and bone. A real human being, who listens first. Someone who dares to sit with me in that uncertain place. Not trying to drag me out, but instead, willing to stay there for as long as it takes. To truly understand where I am. Motivated by a Spirit that defies explanation.

So today my prayer is this:

Let us not be so certain of our beliefs.

Instead, let us be certain of the God who sees the beauty in our mess. Let us be certain of the God who comforts us in our brokenness. Let us be certain of the God who gives voice to the voiceless.

And with this certainty, may we become more than words.

May we be human.

May we be hope.

The hands and heart of God.

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51 Comments

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51 responses to “The Hidden Dangers of Defending Beliefs

  1. Good post. After decades of being a Christian, little by little, what you wrote about has settled in upon me. There is so much I don’t know and don’t understand. Like the scripture…my thoughts are not your thoughts. I don’t think we can put God in our box. We have to walk by faith into His and try to remain there when we don’t know, when the answers don’t come.

    “true hope – is found when logic fails and all seems lost. And here, the hope arrives as flesh and bone.” I like that … I think it says somewhere in the Bible that the words and witness are that we might have hope. Condemnation does not foster Christian hope.

  2. outshine

    Thank you! I have recently been criticized for my own shared thoughts and I too was quite humbled. I like how you ended with “let us not be certain of our beliefs…”.
    Side note: I enjoyed your blog on the frequent use of the word ” blessing”.
    I found comfort in this- we do not fight against flesh and blood, do not defend yourself but let God fight His own battles.
    It is within their hearts a stirring, when faced with the Spirit that is within us due to the calling to be right with God. Perhaps it is not that we offend but that we shine His light in what has grown comfortable in darkness. When we are first prayerful to be present in His will, we ought to be confident we are His tools and well equipped.

  3. Susan Watkins

    The world is so complex, and so are people. I’m a recovering codependent and I often hear love and encouragement from atheists at meetings. God can sort out the theology..I’m just going to try and obey him and love people.

  4. Brave, profound, humbling, simple humanness: humanity, is what oursavior gives us. We are given the ability to be frail, an uncanny knack for making mistakes, the certainty of forgiveness, and the opportunity to be his hands on earth–hands full of hope and mercy. This is what each of us can be when we take our pride out of the picture. People, we have a truly unbelievable gig! Thanks for the insight once again little bro;)

  5. jenniferlarsonwrites

    I don’t use this word a lot because I”m not really the evangelical sort, but…Scott, thank you for being a witness. Thank you.

  6. Carolyn Keefer Thalman

    I am saddened by people who see only black and white and try to put God in their personal sized boxes. I found your “blessed” blog to be one of the best and most meaningful. I don’t think my comfortable house on a hill is a blessing FROM God any more than I think a tin and mud shack in the Guatemala City Dump is something other than a blessing (I hate to use the word curse.) I am simply grateful….and uncomfortable with the my comfort. And grateful for that, as well.

    • Kimberly

      “I am simply grateful….and uncomfortable with the my comfort. And grateful for that, as well.” I love that.

  7. Well said. Reminds me of this sermon – when it comes to judging, stop it!

  8. Rick

    You give me hope that God can trust humble humans to be his hands on earth. I think Tolstoy would agree with your original post.
    Thank you for your words.

  9. Linda Wirth

    Amen!

  10. Elsie Hannah Ruth Rempel

    As a seasoned Christian who wearies of apologetics and proponents of the prosperity gospel, I really enjoyed your post and your attitudes. It also reminded me no to post anything that’ll go viral like that. I don’t think my ego could take it.

  11. I remember reading your original article that you mentioned here, and thinking “I feel bad for whoever wrote this,” after reading through some of the comments. It’s like people forget that a true to life person who has feelings wrote the piece. I feel like lots of people just say all sorts of things online that they would probably never say to someone’s face in real life. We are all growing. The end. 🙂

  12. Chris Lannan

    Scott, Disregard…meant to forward to a friend. One shouldn’t compose emails after 10pm. 🙂 Chris

    P.s. LOVED the “blessed” post.

  13. You had me hooked with your “Angry Christian” musings some months ago.. I’m not surprised by the reaction you got with your blessed article. We associate blessings with wealth and material things. Not surprised that you rubbed some people the wrong way.

    I spent my own life being one of those angry Christians. Some of Jesus’ harshest words in the Bible are for those self-righteous who are quick to condemn others because they have proclaimed themselves above others.

    So I’ll keep reading your blog, knowing that you, like myself, are not perfect, just forgiven. We are suppose to love one another, I’m not sure why so many Christians seem to miss that simple message.

    John S.

  14. harie4u@yahoo.com

    Hello. I can’t really remember your name but I have been reading your blog since I happened on the blessed write up. I wanted to understand your point cos I got a bit confused about you and wanted to understand better. Like you said, viral, it sure did-am in Nigeria, and we are very religious to the point of hostility if anyone tries to “open” our minds to better understand things. I’ve been forwarding your post to friends because your writing is matter of fact, everyday human life, which they enjoy, but at the same time, my reading today from the Bible tells us to proclaim His Word clearly- Col. 4:4. NIV I encourage you to keep doing what you need to do for Jesus clearly to the best of YOUR ability/His grace in your life.

    Hara.

    >

  15. I really appreciate this. I do not like to be on the pointed end of a stick, even when the judgement pronounced is accurate. And being hit over the head with Scripture without the padding of grace makes Christians unlikable. Thank for for the encouragement to extend grace and show love.

  16. After my niece died in a car accident some 4 years ago the one thing i didn’t want people to do was hand out the empty platitudes ‘well you know you will see her again’ or ‘you know she is okay’ i didn’t give a damn that she was okay or that i would see her again, i wanted to see her then, i wanted a chance to say goodbye and see you soon. In the end i stood up in an open testimony meeting and said that i didn’t want to hear these empty words and i wouldn’t hide my grief and if anyone said ‘sorry to me again i would scream. Those who hugged me and walked away saying nothing understood more than those that had lots to say.

    I see from the original post that you changed some of it, what a shame, ‘stuff ’em’ is what i would say. You don’t find God until you really need him and then he is everywhere, in everything.

    • Wow. Thanks for sharing your story, Beverley. Looks like we all have a lot to learn about being Christ for one another. Myself included.

      • There is a difference between Christ-like – the person who brought my family dinner unasked for 2 days after the accident, it was at that moment that we realised that no one had eaten for 2 days. Or the friend who would hug me each week and say ‘I know’ and then walk away. I never say ‘sorry’ to anyone when someone dies these days, i do try and say ‘what can i do’ either to them or to myself and then i do it and sometimes it is just a touch, a hug, a prayer.

    • Kimberly

      Beverley, I understand. My first child was born with spina bifida and we had no prior knowledge of it. It was heartbreaking (Yes, she is wonderful. Yes, I love her dearly. Yes, she is a blessing ( 🙂 ) to me.) When a child is born with such a birth defect, the first weeks are spent with doctors telling you how miserable her life and your life will be. I also knew in my heart that my marriage wouldn’t survive it. Needless to say, I was pretty low. “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle,” “God give special kids to special moms,” “She is made just as He designed her,” etc. were the “comforting” words I was given. Not so comforting. The cemeteries are full of folks that got more than they could handle. Anyone that works with special needs children knows that there are plenty of horrible moms out there and I certainly hope He didn’t choose those moms. And sorry, I don’t think He designed her that way. If He did, that means he didn’t mean for children like her to live until recently and that just doesn’t make any sense. As folks came into my room with this stuff, I became more and more angry with God. Of course I know that it wasn’t God I was angry with only the thoughtless interpretation of Him. You are right, you don’t find God until you really need Him and then He is in places and people that you wouldn’t think. So Beverley, I agree. Just bring me a chicken.

      • We had two couples serving in the ward for the year after Danielle died and it was to them i turned when i could not pray – i asked them to pray for me and they did and i felt it. I met God again some 5 months later. There is a park some 10 minutes from my house and it was to here i would flee when i couldn’t stand the house any longer or the sad faces of my children. I would repeat a song in my head, which begins ‘Heavenly Father are you really there…’ as i began my prayer in a song that day a voice in my head replied ‘yes, i am here.’ I was amazed at the people who were there for me and even more shocked by those who should have been, but weren’t. We do not know what will come at us next or how we will handle it. Your daughter is here to teach you something that you cannot learn any other way. She is here to see if others will step up and do what God is asking them to do. Just this Easter weekend my nephew took his own life, but no one will really understand why until we meet again. But it does leave me wondering what’s it all about really, but the answer is always the same; It is about God in the moments. May He bless you with whatever you need right now.

  17. May we be human.
    May we be hope.
    The hands and heart of God.

    Yes. My new prayer. Thanks for sharing.

  18. Sheila Armitage

    Faith is a living trust. You make it more relevant as you humbly and humorously question and explore Scott. In a fascinating book entitled, “Power versus Force” by David Hawkins he compares the main wisdom traditions based on the purity of Jesus, Buddha, etc, and then reviews how later generations have diluted the purity through words and actions. If we remain in denial about how divisive we are on issues of faith, we further denigrate all humans. Anne Baring, scholar and Jungian analyst believes the atheists will save us from the horrid religiously-destructive path humans are on.

  19. benedicktus

    It took me a very long time to become grateful for what God has actually done for me, in part because it was always pointed out that ‘blessings’ are a sign of God’s favor, and that I didn’t seem to have any. Took me years to see the Blessings that really did come: the change in my life and lifestyle that God was/is working in me. Now I rejoice every day that the life/attitudes/beliefs I have are more and more in line with what God wants me to be than with the money/possessions/health I was led to expect. Thanks for trying so eloquently to say that. but don’t be surprised that some in the church are going to castigate you for doing so. They have for at least the 70 years I’ve been around, and will still be doing so until God changes their blessing/belief system

  20. Thanks to all of you for your encouragement. You give me the strength to keep blathering on until I finally figure out what it means to be what Jesus intended.

  21. Scott,
    A belated “Thank you” for your original blog about saying we’re blessed! When I read it, I had recently written/spoken a little about “the blessing of not enough.” Your post fit right in with what I’d been thinking about, and led me to do some deeper study about what it means to be blessed–from a Scriptural perspective.

    If our words can make folks think more deeply–and bring those questions to God–then we’ve done a pretty cool thing!

  22. Nice post! We can be witnesses through our actions as well as our words. I was first introduced to your blog by reading your “Blessed” post and appreciated it enough to become a subscriber.

  23. Ha! Well here’s a Christian that supports you. I liked this post even beget than the viral one, and now I feel so much happier that none of my own blog posts have ever gone viral. 🙂

  24. Donna

    I happened upon this post that had been tagged in a friends FB an decided it was worth the read. I was saddened that you had received so much flack. I probably would not have gone much further in my reading of your blog but I guess God had different intentions for my Sunday morning (not in church). The last part of this post that hit me is that entire portion where you begin with ‘search for the seed of hope’. I had this discussion with a close friend weeks ago as we made our way through a 3 mile walk an she willing listened to me pour out a barrage of pain. I want bore you with all the mundane but summarize that I spent 20 years of walking in a very close relationship with The Lord an raised my boys to do the same. In summary my youngest has ended up a heroine addict in an out of rehabs, jail, prison; my father whom I love an adore recently passed, my husband of nearly 30 years recently suffered a heart attack at 50 an found out he has a hereditary heart disease. Needless to say I have been trying to figure out why ‘God is punishing me’, yet my ‘rant’ to my friend was that “I believe”. That the ‘seed of faith’ is sooo small, but that I have faith that God knows what he is doing – even if I don’t particularly like the way He chooses to accomplish it. I tell him all the time that I’m really ‘floundering’ down here on earth, an some days I deal with anger at Him. (Can you imagine saying that in a blog an the outrage you would get from well meaning Christians? The reason I’m home an not in church this morning). So I say all of the above to say Thank You! Thank you for being a man of faith that can jokingly make a cut about your mom an mean absolutely nothing disparaging in the comment (only the Pharisees would comment other wise), because I can identify with a loving quip about a parent – I have a mom an I am a mom, an I get it – on both sides – I am my mother that I don’t want to be – lol. Thank you for pointing out that blessings are not always gifts lavished upon us by ‘God’, sometimes those are burdens. Thank you for helping me to remember that the burden of a gift of having an addict for a son, is how will I use it to reach an help others. Thank you for reminding me that my faith as small as a mustard seed is still a seed that is deep within me an who I am an resonates to the very core of my life even on the days when I’m asking God where He is? What He is doing an Why He has abandoned me? My seed though small has very deep roots.
    I will now follow more of your posts because I like it when I hear from a real Christian an not a spiritual zealot – such as the Pharisees.

  25. Jon

    Excellent follow up post here. I can see that you took the time to consider all that was said and constructed a very sure response here which is about furthering understanding.
    -I am very glad I decided to follow your blog and look forward to the wisdom that you will continue share with us.

  26. Thank you for the blessed post. You really nailed the truth of the gospel. I spent most of my life compromising the words of Jesus instead of taking them litterally. Now I am a full time missionary in the Philippines where the normal days wage is but 5-10 dollars. We are living very cheaply according to the American standard of living, but still we are so exorbantly rich to the people here. We struggle with the fact that we can’t help every one. We raise all of our money from people back home. And try to live off a stipend of 600-1000 dollars a month with half or more going to alms for the poor. Obviously the more we have the more we can use to help. Yet, even here I find myself trying to bring my lifestyle from home to my mission post. You can follow our family at our blog (baileyfamilymissions.blogspot.com). Please pray for our family and all the missionaries throughout the world who are really taking the gospel seriously. Another take on the blessed is that it can be a blessing or a curse the words toward the end of your post were enlightening. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR WEALTH, WILL YOU CHOOSE TO BLESS OR CURSE? You can bless others and yourself at the same time or you can curse yourself. We are blessed not because of what we have but WHO we have. Praise Jesus in all things! Keep allowing God to change you and good things will come of it.

  27. I had the same thing happen to a post I wrote called “5 things Christians should stop saying.” Went viral and there were positive and negative comments for sure. I really appreciated your post. I was thinking about how people would say “I am blessed” and its like a slap in my face cause all the while my parents are getting a divorce, I can’t find a job, I’m having to write my undergraduate thesis this summer , mom might lose her job and we’re having to move out of our house by ourselves this summer. I have been holding on to God by the skin of my teeth for 8 months since my dad left. Seeing all the FB posts about family during the holidays…”So blessed.” Another slap in the face.
    Thank you for saying something.

  28. I can see where you are coming from about people feeling blessed vocally and it be a “slap in the face” for those enduring tremendous hardships. However, at first thought, I can’t come up with an alternative. If someone feels blessed should they keep quiet about it because they might hurt someone who doesn’t feel so blessed? Maybe it requires asking God for wisdom and guidance as to where and when we are to express our feeling of being blessed? Not sure.

  29. Dee Ach Ess

    Thank you.

  30. Katie

    I don’t believe in the prosperity gospel. Please don’t say “nowhere in the Bible does it say…” if you haven’t actually looked in the whole Bible. Malachi 3:10-12. I understand that the word blessed is overused and I certainly don’t think that Christians are promised an easy, happy, healthy, wealthy life, but God does say that He is faithful (Psalm 145:12 & in plenty of other verses) and I believe that in the midst of challenging, crappy parts of life when you don’t feel like God can see you or hear you, He is still a sovereign God who is at work for His glory and our good.

  31. Cheryl

    I saw your work on Huffington Post, and I liked it, so I clicked the link to your blog. I was very disappointed to hear about the negative feedback you received regarding your point of view. Some people clearly don’t understand your point. It’s not that you’re soulless or are denouncing God or are ungrateful for your material possessions. You’re just expressing it in a different way. I constantly tell people all the time that life is not a competition. It isn’t about whose right or wrong, or who wins or loses. I’m having a rough day, so I call my friend and she has to “one-up” me about how her day was worse. Is their an award to be won for who had the crappier day? No. We both end up feeling worse, and that’s not productive.

    The same is true, for example, if I were to say I’m “blessed” because I can pay the rent on my dumpy apartment every month, while my friends have to live with their parents at 31 years old because they can’t afford rent. Am I more faithful, or more deserving of God’s grace because I was lucky enough to get an entry level position at a big company 7 years ago and work my way up? No. I’d like to think God doesn’t have the time or energy to pick and choose who gets to receive his “blessings” that way.

    Anyway, you succinctly and clearly put into words what I’ve been thinking and feeling for a while now. It’s like that moment when you just happen across something and you’re like “YES! Someone else gets it! That’s what I’ve been thinking!” It’s very exciting. I bookmarked your blog and subscribed also. I look forward to catching up and hearing a different perspective. (I’m thinking of leaving the Catholic church and I’m exploring other possibilities. I hope God isn’t mad at me!) Thank you for putting yourself out there. It certainly isn’t an easy thing to do.

  32. Rosemary White

    May you always say the things you truly believe.We need,all of us to hear what each other feels inspired to say.We don’t have to agree but we need to inspect and dissect and learn.

  33. Kimberly

    I shared your post on my FB wall and got a tongue lashing (or keyboard lashing) as others commented about it on THEIR walls (making sure to let everyone know they saw this “ridiculous article by a presby no less and who listens to them anyway.” Wow. The scary part isn’t that they disagreed with you. That’s ok. We won’t all agree. It was that they DIDN’T get it AT ALL. If we, as Christians, can’t understand and empathize with suffering then what is the point? Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t have the answers. I am FULL of questions and have very little answers. The one thing I do know, however, is that people are really hurting out there and I just don’t want to be “that person” who twists the knife just a little more. I know that when I say I am blessed, I am giving thanks. I am expressing gratitude. However, I also know that word has always bothered me. Now that FB is out there so we can all brag about our “blessings,” it bothers me even more. Sometimes it reads like, “God has blessed me so much too bad He doesn’t give a crap about you.” Of course we know that isn’t true. Of course we know God loves us dearly and is probably scratching His head and questioning the whole “free will” decision. His motives and His love are far too grand for my little mind to grasp. However, my mind can grasp feeling lost and abandon (been there many times) and if can read an article that makes me think a little bit more about the suffering of others and how to lessen the feelings of loneliness, I will always consider it.

  34. Billy

    What a story that you have shared, thank you. Look forward to reading part 2.

  35. I for one, did not like your original piece because it was so “certain”. But after reading this I recognize that you’re not actually that way. Thanks.

  36. Charlie

    Years ago I tried to learn a new word everyday – how to say it properly, definition, and how to use it – then applying it to my life that day…. DONE – a new word (score).
    Recently I became uncomfortable when I used the words “good luck” – no one said anything to me, it was something inside of me that I believed was a conflict of my faith vs. a very worldly phrase. I have caught myself saying it and now I am trying to replace it with other words.
    Am I splitting hairs? Perhaps. But this is just between me and The Lord.
    While I believe this word journey is a very personal one (not meant for me to lecture my friends and family to join in), it goes back to what you wrote about in the “blessing” piece. I’m sure if I shared what I’m doing with my friends, especially my church friends I’d get the “you’re not walking in grace and freedom”, and other reminders that we’ve been set free….you know all that is so popular right now”
    I am enjoying this blog, your truthfulness, humor and reminders that none of has “arrived” yet……..

  37. I had just read and re-posted the “Blessed” commentary to my wall. What you said was right on track. I have felt that way for a very long time and was starting to think I was the only one. As a matter of fact I tend to get rumpled when I hear the term used.
    I know not everyone is at the same place in their walks. I also know that too many who claim to follow the LORD do not spend much needed time in Scripture (and not just in the familiar passages). If the folks who found offence in what you shared would take some time and look it up for themselves perhaps they wouldn’t be offended anymore.
    Thank you for sharing.
    It IS a “blessing” to know I’m not the only one of this opinion. 🙂

  38. SaltedEarth

    You mentioned that atheists posted the “nicer” comments of the two groups. In Galatians Paul writes: “I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.10 Obviously, I’m not trying to win the approval of people, but of God. If pleasing people were my goal, I would not be Christ’s servant.” (Gal. 1:9-10) To me that sounds like Paul was “certain of [his] beliefs”, and he wasn’t called to tell non-believers stuff that made them feel goo. In Romans 8, he is certain that nothing can separate us from God’s love (a belief). In 2 Corinthians he writes that Christ will shine through our lives, and that we can be certain because of our great trust (a belief) in God through Christ.

    Our relationship with Christ is this: he imputed his own judgement to us so that we can be found clean in God’s sight. That is a belief and one that we can be certain of

  39. Great post! I spent several years overseas and I think I was a bit insulated from many of the arguments about beliefs from the last decade. The reminder about hope is an excellent one! What purpose is it for, except to give hope?

  40. Liza Gentry

    Love your Blog!

  41. delighting in Him

    I actually came to this blog to comment about the very entry regarding talking about our blessings. Twenty -five plus years ago, my husband and I were struggling with infertility. We had friends who were also going through the same struggle. Our friends decided to adopt and, shortly after their decision, our four year struggle ended in a pregnancy for me. Their adopted daughter arrived and we celebrated. After a small scare in the first trimester, I had an uneventful pregnancy and our beautiful daughter was born. Several months later, my friend asked how I was feeling and I responded by talking about how “blessed” I felt. Her immediate response was “well, I guess that means I am not blessed”. I felt so careless and humbled at that time. I never even thought she would take my simple comment that way. So many things we say can be misconstrued or misunderstood. We have to look at what we say from an outside perspective. I appreciate your reflection and your willingness to share.

  42. Michael Nielsen

    Good day.
    I have a few questions for you in regards to your blog about blessings.
    Are you saying that the hundreds of million people who make 10 hour are not blessed? God chooses to bless some with more then others. For his sovereign purposes. Look at Abraham. And job. Its no matter what we have we are still blessed. Blessed to have a home. Blessed to have a job. Blessed to breath.
    What is blessing defined? I am farrrr from the prosperity gospel. Its anti christ.
    But I do see scripture tell us that gid blesses us. But just bcause i may be blessed with a truck you may be blessed with a bike. Both come from the father and thats what makes us blessed. Rejoicing in others blessin. god allows struggles and trials to shape and mold our character and faith. Please read scripture in its totality on father god. And understand that everything is a blessing from him! And if you dont have alot..that is a blessing also. And god may or may not give you more. He does for his purpose so that he may be glorified!

  43. H

    Let’s clarify, friends. We should absolutely be certain and firm and black and white on the crucial issue of faith in Jesus Christ. But the use of the word “blessed”? That’s not really a crucial-to-the-faith make it or break it issue.

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