I think its important to approach people as though they’re giving it their best shot. By "it," I mean life, living, breathing, the works. I’ve often been in a position to help people get things in order, and too many times I’ve only made them feel as though they weren’t doing enough. That’s completely backwards.
Tommy used to say that Christianity was easy. "It’s life that’s difficult." I never understood what he meant, until recently. I don’t think he was saying the life of Christ in us is simple. Christ’s life brings suffering, just as a lump of coal must first feel extreme pressure to become a diamond. I’ve heard said, "Surely God didn’t make that awful thing happen. He doesn’t want you to experience pain. God brings peace. God gives healing. He wants us to enjoy life." While its true that God is a healer and He gives us peace, it’s ludicrous to believe that as Christians we won’t suffer. God sent His Son to this world to die on a Cross in a horrible fashion. Why do we think we won’t feel any pain in this world?
I think there’s a serious lack of courage when it comes to reminding our Christian brethren to keep Christ central to their daily existence, but I don’t think we should be eager to tell people they’re falling short, because "all fall short of the glory of God."
It’s important for me to remember that no one has got it all figured out. I forget that sometimes, which is usually a sign that my spiritual pride had raised its ugly head and needs to be dealt with. I’m reminded of a moment in the journey of Jake Barnes:
Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.
Jake was a man who felt like he couldn’t get anything right, as though he was without hope. Yet in the end, he found the only Hope he needed. Its a book I recommend. The how of living is so much more important than the million other things that we try and set up as our focus.
As Christmas closes in, a time that for some is wonderful and simultaneously horrid for many others, I pray that I will remember that God applies pressure in order to make us into something more, and that I will be tempered by God’s Spirit so that I know when to lift people up and when to tell them to stand.