The Weekly Epistle 3/8/23

Living Hope Family,
A good Christian is always filled with joy, and he never gives in to sorrow. Can I get an amen? A good Christian is always gracious and never lets anger grip her heart. Can I get a hallelujah? A good Christian is always brimming over with faith and never allows a doubtful thought to enter his mind. Can I get a praise Jesus?

I am not a good Christian.

A good Christian is an impossibility. Constructed from silly notions of Christian piety, a good Christian is a frustrated stoic who stuffs down every negative thought and emotion, covering them over with pious platitudes like…

“Let go and let God.”
“When God closes one door, he opens another.”
“A Bible that’s falling apart belongs to someone who isn’t.”
I love the Psalms because they deconstruct our piousness and give us permission to be real Christians instead of good Christians. They allow us to express the full spectrum of human thought and emotion…

Sorrow (Psalm 137) and joy (Psalm 66)
Anger (Psalm 140) and love (Psalm 116)
Fear (Psalm 69) and trust (143)
Desolation (Psalm 22) and hope (Psalm 31)
Disappointment (Psalm 74) and faith (Psalm 23)
Depression (Psalm 88) and consolation (Psalm 94)

The Psalms always direct us to God. They are prayers, after all. The Psalms direct us to our Lord, who listens and responds…

He relishes in our joy and empathizes with our sorrow. He feels our anger and responds in love.
He hears our fears and infuses us with trust.
He sees our desolation and offers us hope.
He senses our disappointment and calls us to faith.
He knows the darkness that fills our souls, and he comforts our broken spirits.

This week, I encourage you to cast off the trappings of self-righteous goodness and take up the Psalms. Read them. Pray them. Live them. And be a real Christian—an honest Christian.

Can I get an amen?

Pastor Dan