Why would anyone ask a self-described “Bad Christian” a question? And yet, for some reason, readers of this daily rambling have recently posed a number of inquiries for me to consider. Some forced me to think, some made me laugh, some made me a little angry, and a few made my heart ache. I have decided to tackle a few of them so here is the first (and very possibly the last) edition of “Ask a Bad Christian.”
Dear Bad Christian,
Did Paul who preached at Ephesus have a wife?
The Bible does not state whether Paul was married or not. So we can only try to piece together bits of evidence to reach a conclusion. Clearly Paul felt that marriage was cool because he wrote this to the Church at Corinth. “Don’t we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord’s brothers and Cephas?” (I Cor.9:5) He never specifically mentions a wife in any of his writings and even notes that he has the gift of celibacy. (I Cor 7) Others say that he must have been married because members of the Sanhedrin were required to be married. But Paul never wrote that he had become a member of the Sanhedrin before his little encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. So the best answer I can give you is that it does not appear that Paul was married at the time of his writings. It is possible he had been married earlier and was widowed but that is only speculation.
Dear Bad Christian,
Question for you: Today in church the pastor said both he and his wife were asked this week if they are ever down. He said they both replied negatively since they have the Wonderful Counselor on their side they are never down or negative. I felt as if I should throw up a BS flag or something. Or is there a level of communion with Christ where you never feel down? He didn’t mean it like this, but I twisted his words in my brain that if you are ever down you aren’t a real Christian.
First of all, you have to know that Bad Christian loves the idea of a “BS flag” to throw when we feel a member of the family says something that does not past the authenticity smell test. Throwing the “BS flag” would be like a replay challenge in football. The pastor would review the tape and see if the statement is valid and defensible.
“After further review, the statement made from the pulpit stands as proclaimed. Start the clock, the sermon resumes from point 2”
Or the ruling might be, “After further review the pastor withdraws the comment, is penalized 5 minutes from the sermon, and will resume from the spot of the flag.”
As for your actual question, I would have to respectfully disagree with your pastor. And I do mean respectfully. I would say that as you grow in your relationship with Christ that you will not stay down or negative. But I cannot say that you never get down or negative. I have found that the time frames that I remain down or negative grow shorter as I mature a bit in my faith. But I have not personally reached the point in my journey with Jesus that I never get down. I have not come close to the point where I am never negative. Remember, I am a guy who has scoured the Bible to see if cynicism is a spiritual gift. But I can tell you that I am much better than I used to be. And that is what the journey is all about. I understand what your pastor is saying about the Wonderful Counselor retooling your emotional responses and that has and is happening in my life. But to say you are never down is unrealistic. As Jesus prepared for the Cross at Gethsemane it appears He was both down about the agony that was ahead and negative toward His sleeping Apostles.
Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matt 26)
So Bridgette…you have the full support of “Ask a Bad Christian.” And I am sure that is reassuring!
Dear Bad Christian,
I am 17. I describe myself as a “bad christian.” Why can’t I be a good christian?
Can I tell you something from the depths of my heart? You are well on your way to being a better Christian because you are honest enough to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal your condition. Calling myself a “Bad Christian” is not done to make me feel bad about myself or to punish myself. I use that description as a daily reminder of my potential to sin and the need to depend on Christ in every moment.
Do I really think that I am a “Bad Christian?” I often feel like the Apostle Paul who said this to Timothy.
“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.” (1 Tim 1)
Notice something very important here Charles. Paul says “of whom I am the worst” instead of “I was the worst.” Paul knew that his walk was a daily dependence on Jesus. But I do not think that I am a “Bad Christian” in the sense that I am any less in the eyes of Jesus who shed His blood for me. The description is simply a daily reminder of my need for Him.
Honesty and the realization of your need for help is the first big step to becoming a good Christian. I would suggest you spend time in God’s Word. Find a older mature Christian to mentor you (if you can). Try to enlist a couple of Christians who will help you be accountable. Realize that all of us are “Bad Christians” now and then. Also realize that not all of us admit that. When you are a “Bad Christian” you need to repent, repair any damage you might have done, forgive yourself, and keep going. This is not a sprint but a long and sometimes difficult marathon. I am praying that a few years from now you will look back and say what I often say. “I may still sometimes be a Bad Christian but I am a whole lot better than I used to be!”
I am praying for you Charles. Thanks for being real.
Dear Bad Christian,
Are you going to do this again?
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Dear Fake Poster Invented by Author to Conclude Blog,
I await the feedback of my dozens of readers.