One of the things that most effectively turns people off to Christianity, or any sort of faith for that matter, is the great tragedies and misdeeds that have been done in the name of God. I think all Christians have met an atheist or agnostic and had a conversation that goes like this…”What about the Christian crusades or the witch hunters or religious wars. How can people do such evil things in the name of a ‘loving’ God?” Or a conversation discussing the great evangelists and extreme claims they made public in an effort to gain money. Or maybe you’ve been present in a church service where the pastor harps about America being God’s special chosen country and God being on our side. I remember when I was younger and people around me would pray for their favorite team to win the superbowl. I always felt extremely confused, thinking why is God on their side and not the other teams? Why does God pick teams, is the other team a bunch of heathens, does God not like them, and what happens to the people whose side he isn’t on?
I think as Christians we often times use God as a means to an end. When I was thirteen I really wanted a yellow corvette for my first car. I dreamed about it and put pictures of it up on my wall, and eventually I just “knew” God wanted me to have it. Did God ever speak to me and tell me he wanted that? Nope. But I felt a magical sense of entitlement to it.
How many times do we allow self-righteousness to become our ally and use God as our mascot? If I’m being honest as a Christian, I have felt that pride build up, thinking God is on my side, I am in the right and no one can stand against me…I mean us…I mean God? Even if something I believe in is good..or scriptural..or beneficial, that does not mean it is right. Maybe it’s not God’s timing. Maybe it’s not God’s will. Maybe it’s not God’s best. Maybe it will hurt too many people in the process. Maybe it’s not about who’s side God is on at all…
Abraham Lincoln is quoted as saying, “My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”