Watch Out for Splinters
N.T. Wright’s comments about our culture’s desire to be neutral and avoid hard lines and bold claims reminded me of a recent encounter with a fellow writer. She showed me an essay she was editing for a minister who was trying to explain the meaning of spirituality versus religion. The minister was trying to ride the hypersensitivity fence so hard, had it been a real fence, he would have had a backside full of splinters. While well intentioned in his attempts to be all-inclusive, he sapped all of the strength out of his message. He was so intent on not offending anyone that he failed to inform anyone of the Truth.
I know there are people who embrace the idea that death is just a natural part of life. I could not agree less.
Today I visited a local funeral home to pay my respects to a heartbroken man whose wife died after a gut wrenching struggle with cancer. She experienced that “first death” all too soon, at least from our earthbound perspective. As someone who looked to Jesus as her hope, I know she will be resurrected one day and I thank God for that. But I walked away from the funeral home feeling so bitter and angry and stabbed in the heart. It was just wrong. I wasn’t mad at God. I was mad at death and the cursed cancer that preceded it–something God never intended for any of us. The only thing that makes it tolerable is the knowledge that Jesus–“the one who was dead and came to life”–brought death to its knees. We can know there is hope for the future for those who trust in him. But if I water that down, don’t sincerely share the Truth with grace, but stick with platitudes and “nice” language, how will anyone else know that hope?