Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Do not grieve as those that have no hope"

Christians quote this verse all the time to talk about the unrelieved despair of those who are not Christians when they face death. It really isn't that way, and they remind me of those Communists who used to see how hopelessly oppressed American workers were in the 1950s compared to those in the Soviet Union, since that's what Marxist ideology required them to see.

Well, how do people grieve when they have no hope? Here's some news. They don't become totally hopeless. They make up all sorts of false hopes. People without real hope chatter on about how the loved one is in heaven now, blah, blah, blah. That glib chatter, useless comfort that it is, is vinegar poured on a wound - and that's precisely because it is the chatter of those who indeed have no hope. And lots of "Christians" are just that way, quoting all sorts of Bible verses, blipping hastily over the detail that the verses quoted may in no way apply to the corpse they say them over. I still remember them chattering that nonsense over the corpse of Lyndon Johnson.

Well, the only reason you blip over such difficulties is that you have no good answer for them. That's being without hope.

Real hope is not just a quality that God gives, or a spiritual gift. Unlike these, according to Paul the apostle in 1 Corinthians 13, it's an attribute of God, along with faith and love. It's not a thing we find in ourselves. It's the expression of the divine nature formed in human beings. It doesn't come from within us, although it can be counterfeited, and that counterfeit kills.

The next time you see that someone needs hope, don't dig up some cheerful word, some Bible verse. Have a talk with God about your own despair, and until you get the real deal from above, shut up, already!


Blogger Pomona Joe said...

Thanks, Peter. I needed to read that.

2/01/2009 6:32 PM  

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