Sunday, April 3, 2011

When Spirituality Neglects Humanness

A blog I wrote last weekend, “Let God Do His Work in Suffering” seemed to strike a nerve in a few people. Comments and emails that I received showed this was a pretty important topic.

Why? Because I think it touched a raw nerve. It touched something that we don’t talk about much.

Sometimes our goal in life is to be so spiritual that we forget to be human. I’m so glad that being a believer means Christ is refining me and that I am being transformed in so many ways. But I am still a person with normal feelings and emotions. What I got through the responses was that you feel the same.

I remember one time a few years ago when I was sitting in a Sunday school class. I won’t say what the topic was or who was teaching. It really wasn’t about that anyway. But we were watching a video on something that I had absolutely no interest in.

Someone turned to me and said, “Isn’t this the most amazing thing you have ever seen?” I in my honesty and humanness replied, “Not really.” She looked absolutely shocked and I’m sure she thought I was being blasphemous. It was just really how I felt. I couldn’t spiritualize what I was watching because in my humanness it really wasn’t interesting.

One of the things that really seemed to connect to others was the use of “Christianese language.” We can’t let our comments, statements and reactions be built on a need to sound spiritual. We can be genuine and point people back to God when they are going through a difficult time but we can also be so spiritual that it does the very opposite.

One example I was given is how many Christians will use “God will provide.” This person was expressing to me how of course they know God WILL provide. They are believers. They know this but at the time God isn’t providing and so they want to feel just a little bit human.

Now you might be thinking we have to guard everything we say. I don’t think that is the case but I do think we need to guard the way we try to encourage others. Encouraging someone is supposed to make them feel better, not worse. Lending a listening ear, being empathetic to their situation and remembering that we have all felt very human at one time or another might help.

Don’t let the need to be so spiritual neglect the reality that we are still human.

1 comment:

  1. I really liked this post ... so often the 'being spiritual' can come across as cold and callous when we don't mean it to. I remember years ago having this discussion with believing ladies. One lady said she knew someone who lost her young daughter to a long battle with cancer and a friend, in trying to comfort said, 'It was God's will.' Well, that is the last thing that anyone grieving wants to hear (even if it would be true.) A gesture of love goes so much farther - just holding someone's hand, sitting with them to lend them a listening ear, a hug. And if we do say something, I think its best to not think about what spiritual thing to say, but to express what we ourselves would like to hear - and if we don't know, maybe its good to offer affection without words. :)