It’s A Chronic Condition
I have had allergies since I was a kid. It’s why I’m known as The Great Indoorsman. Having grown up and moved around the country I’ve had different doctors over the years. Different allergy drugs have come and gone. I remember when Claritin was new. Now it’s kind of the old man of allergy pills. In addition to the pills there are what we call “sniffs” at our house. Flonase seems to be the sniff of choice for us. And then there are the eye drops and the inhaler for when things get really bad. What can I say? I’m special.
One Pill One Time?
What if, after having been given a prescription for pills, sniffs, eye drop, and an inhaler (true for me), I went home and took one of the pills, just one, and didn’t feel any better? The next day I call my doctor’s office, get an appointment, and go in to see her. When she comes in the room the following conversation happens.
- Me: I took one of the pills you gave me and I still have allergies and allergy symptoms (snort).
- Doc: You took just one pill?
- Me: Yes (sniff)
- Doc: One pill, one time?
- Me: Yes. It didn’t work. Now I don’t believe in pills anymore and I think all doctors are just out for my money (drip).
- Doc: I see. Well, let me explain. You are going to be dealing with allergies all of your life. In fact, as you get older they are going to change. Some of the things you have been allergic to won’t bother you anymore while new things will start to be a problem. There is no single pill or sniff or drop that will make it go away. The problem is in your flesh. Your skin and other parts of you have a reaction to common allergens. I can give you tools to help manage the symptoms and I can give you advice on how to limit your exposure. But in order to experience the benefits of these things you actually have to use them.
At this point I would have two choices:
- I could choose to believe, contrary to reality, that medications don’t work and that it’s all a scam. Or,
- I could choose to believe that these things can work if I stick to the prescribed plan and experience the relief that I seek.
The Prescription Is Jesus
While the above scenario might sound a bit ridiculous, I can’t tell you how many people see Jesus, Pastors, and church in the same way.
- I tried Jesus once. I didn’t work.
- I went to a church and I had a bad reaction to them, or they had one to me.
- Preachers are just in it for the money.
Are some preachers just in it for the money? Sadly, yes. Some, but not all. Are some churches screwed up with their priorities out of whack? Absolutely. Some, but not all. Are there some portrayals of Jesus that don’t match Jesus as He is described throughout the Bible? Yea and verily. Some, but not all.
The Allergy is Sin
Everyone is born with what is basically a terminal allergy called sin. As we live our lives different patterns of sin will come and go, but the underlying problem will always be there; our flesh. Someone who has Jesus has a treatment for the symptoms while they walk this earth and a cure for the life after. Someone who doesn’t have Jesus doesn’t even have the treatment and the life after this one isn’t much of a life. To say, “I tried Jesus, it didn’t work for me” is to say, “I took a Claritin once, it didn’t work for me.”
I’ve been at this Jesus thing for about 25 years. There haven been times when I have raised the same objections as those above. Some of those times have been when I’m the pastor. In most of those instances the root of the problem is in me. When that’s the case it’s because I’ve forgotten to keep at the forefront one of the most basic truths of God’s word; God is love. When I focus on the weirdness of people and Churchianity I’m not focussing on who God is. It’s as if I stopped taking my allergy meds. Without Jesus in my system, the symptoms of sin run rampant.
Take A Do-over
If, like me, you haven’t kept at it all that well, take a do-over. If you live close enough I’m inviting you to walk with me as I take my pills, sniff my sniffs, drop the drops, and work that inhaler when needed. If you are feeling the effects of sin allergies, you’re cranky, bitter at life and people, you’ve given up, you’re depressed, let me help you try it again. Help me build a church where broken people can walk in as broken people and not feel like crap about it. More than that, let’s build a place where they can get healing. God fixes broken people, but only if they want to be fixed and only if they stick with it. He always takes back the relapsed person. Even if you don’t live here, I’d love to help you find a place (or even start a place) like this.
What do you say?
This post was inspired by a moment when God reminded me that He is love and He loves me a lot. More than that, I was reminded that He feels the same way about the people that I have on my Facebook feed who don’t know Him, who feel like they have tried and it didn’t work, or who have rejected the real Jesus based on a misrepresentation of Him. Friends, lets have coffee together, come to church some Sunday, lets do something so that you can get it off your chest and make room to receive the real thing.