At times, I make the mistake of believing that my faith is embarrassing to follow. After religion has done its damage to people, I see my peers back away into the corner licking their wounds like an injured dog, and I think, why do I believe in a faith that does this?
The truth of the matter is, I don’t. I don’t believe in a faith that does this. I don’t believe in a faith that hurts people with nothing restorative about it. I don’t believe in a faith that is dangerous for people.
What I do believe is that there are people out there who mask their own selfishness and pride with religion. Under the guise of a confrontational truth, they are more than happy to tear down sinners without any call to repentance. While the truth is confrontational, its effects are not harmful. Its effects lead to a godly sorrow, which leads to repentance and salvation with no regret (2 Cor. 7:10). That last part is key because there is plenty to regret when the person is just simply hurt.
It is a matter of pride and selfishness when a Christian harms another with a distorted truth. I know this because I find that I hurt people when my god looks like the man in the mirror. When I make faith subservient to what I want to see out of it, I present a truth that only edifies myself. To the rest, it’s harmful. It is my own pride that induces me with just enough religion to be dangerous.
So many people have been deluded into believing that the faith should be apologizing, when in reality, I should be.
In the height of my inadequacy, I find that Scripture addresses this prideful condition and its dangerous effects. In Acts 19:23-41, a riot in opposition to Paul’s teaching in Ephesus breaks out. Its instigator is a man named Demetrius, who incites the riot purely out of selfish ambition. He transforms faith into a product of himself, and when he does so, the effects are dangerous (as we see by the riot). Finally, the town clerk ends the riot by providing an argument, which shows that the true Christians have done nothing justifiably wrong. The ones who were in the wrong were those who distorted the faith. The true offense lied on their shoulders.
When we turn the faith into something that its not based on our own pride, we harm people. I’ve done this, and at some point, we have all done this. We have all misrepresented Jesus in some area of life. But when we do this, we should introduce humility into the situation to show that faith is bigger than how we present it. Faith cannot be contained within the frame of my mirror. It is much bigger than myself.
So for those of you who have been hurt by the faith in a non-redeeming manner, I apologize. On behalf of myself and Christians everywhere, I apologize.