The gospel is true but we still need help

I am very thankful for my experiences with other Christians, especially the ones who helped me understand the gospel a bit more. Stuff like I am loved by God, I’m forgiven, made new in Christ, a daughter not an orphan and so on. This all felt so alive, so eye opening that I became emersed in it. In some ways this was good, but in some ways it led me to a place where I’d sort of use these kind of aspects of the gospel to combat all of life’s problems, mine and yours.  I’d think that if I would just believe the gospel better, believe that I was precious and valued by God that this would set me free from my deep insecurities and self hatred.  If I could just believe the gospel then I’d live without fear of what others think of me.  If I could just believe how loved I am by God I would not feel the weight of depression lurking or so needy for the love of others. I’d tell you these things too over coffee. I’d say “you are so loved by God” and I’d so passionately mean it (and still do!) But I’m starting to think that I’d be less likely to say that to you today, less likely to say it to myself. Not because I believe it any less but because I’m starting to feel like maybe the truths of the gospel were not meant to be used to bat away all depression or whatever.  (But then there’s that bit about faith being a shield that extinguishes the flaming arrows of the devil or something but let me ignore that for a minute until I get to the end of my heretical thought).

I think I feel like when Christians respond to someone’s mental and psychological suffering with gospel phrases it sort of shortcuts a process of healing.  It’s not that I don’t believe these things and it’s not that these things have not transformed who I am and how I approach life, but knowing that God loves me and believing that and enjoying that does not negate my need to face the painful parts of my own story. Face the parts that have contributed to the fact that I feel like I’m stupid or not enough or too much to handle.  I think when we go on those journeys God goes with us but I don’t think he short cuts them. 

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4 Comments on “The gospel is true but we still need help”

  1. Sam Moore Says:

    If i’m being too simplistic here tell me…
    I wonder if this is one of those examples of it not being ‘either or’ rather ‘both and’ and an example of how many Christians have created a sacred secular divide instead of recognising how all of these things weave together into the crazy tapestry that is each of our lives.

  2. Sharon Arnold Says:

    I agree… we can use “Jesus” as a full-stop to someone’s suffering, and their story. Or, as you say, to our own… in which case we end up feeling bad about ourselves and not too keen on Jesus!

    The ‘both/and’ thing is a revelation to me these days. I have been forever saying “On the one hand this, but on the other hand THIS” and feeling that my own tapestry was a confused and contradictory one.. instead of just crazy! I’m learning that a lot of things aren’t the opposites I thought they were…

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