Lost within depression, soaking in struggles, facing sexual temptation, choosing right or wrong, “why are you a Christian?” has been a question that meets me time and time again in these moments and many more. I used to ignore its prompt, answer it with an, “I dunno.” But the more I’ve lived and wrestled with my faith, this question has become more relevant, more necessary to answer every day.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Gossett (Creative Commons)
I was cultivated in a Christian system. My parents, my school, my friends—everything and everyone were Christian. Because of this, I never deeply examined why I too identified myself as a Christian. I just was.
There were pricks and prods from youth group and sermons that made me think a bit, but it wasn’t until my Christian high school struggled with students who identified themselves as homosexual that I actually asked myself, “Why are you a Christian?”
What ensued in my school was hate and confusion. Administration didn’t know how to handle it, students didn’t know how to act—until that moment many of us didn’t know anyone who was gay and all we had been told about being gay was that it was a horrible sin.
Bullying and discrimination and manipulation took over. I made a lot of mistakes within those actions, and when I saw the hurt that was being caused, I remember crying into my pillow asking Jesus, “Why are we even Christians if we can’t love like you told us to love?”
Today we are surrounded by the bullying, discrimination, and manipulation of ISIS, international massacres, cop shootings, violent riots, school shootings, race, gender…
If you’re a Christian, are you not crying into your pillow asking a something similar?
I found a piece of my answer that night of why I’m a Christian. Even so, the road to continue finding answers has been long, confusing, and painful.
I think that’s the reason many of us don’t like to ask this big question—we aren’t sure of the answer and it seems too difficult to find.
If we don’t know the answer, then what the heck have we been doing with our life for how many-ever-years we’ve labeled ourselves “Christian”? Without asking ourselves this question, we are living a life we aren’t owning.
Perhaps that’s the flaw of the face of American Christianity today. No one knows why they believe what they do, they’re just a Christian because it’s what they’ve been told to be or have always been. And because there are no truths rooted in real answers, people operate an inactive faith of faulty choices.
The fundamental key to answering a question is to provide facts. In order to answer “Why are you a Christian,” you must first know who you are and then you must know the truth about what you believe, but both of these are facts that most Christians have trouble providing.
Why is that? Shouldn’t they be the most important answers to have?
I preach to churches that won’t change and won’t take action for Jesus because they don’t know these answers.
I talk to Millennials who have no problem choosing a sinful lifestyle over a holy one because they don’t have these answers.
We are a part of a world that obsesses over Christianity, yet seemingly no one has the answers to the most important question.
Why are you a Christian?