Monday, February 22, 2010

"I tried, but it's hard"

For several days now, I've been thinking about the "I tried but it's hard" concept. You know what I'm talking about: "I tried to do the right thing, but it's hard!" "I tried to be nice to that in-law who always annoys me, but it's so hard!" or "... but I just couldn't!"

First of all, since when did "hard" become "impossible", because for a lot of people, those two words are synonymous. Whenever Christians use the "it's hard" excuse, I can't help but shake my head in wonderment. They think that being nice to someone is hard? They think that being respectful to their husband or wife is hard? Christians today have no concept of what "hard" really is. Dying a martyr's death is hard, watching your children being thrown to the lions is hard, choosing to follow Jesus when it means certain death is hard. There are not very many Christians in America today that encounter something that is truly difficult. Yes, everyone goes through struggles at times in their lives, but when we complain about the stupid little things that we have to put up with or deal with (being nice to someone who's not, holding your tongue when you're angry, etc.), and whine that they're "hard to do", it's a real slap in the face to the Christians around the world who actually are doing something hard. There are Christians even now who are dying a horrible martyr's death. Someday, our country may even start persecuting Christians. If we can't do the right thing at a miniscule level, what hope do we have of choosing Christ when there's a gun being held to our head?

And then there's the first part of that statement: "I tried". These two words are used everyday to excuse one's behavior. It's as if Christians believe that, as long as they tried, the outcome doesn't matter. This is how they think Judgment Day will play out: God says "you cheated on your wife. Why'd you do that?" 'Sam' replies "well, you see, this girl at the office would catch me alone in the break room and she kept on trying to kiss me. The first time, I pushed her away, and the second time, I pushed her away, and the third time, I tried to push her away, but..." "Ooooh" says God "You tried to push her away? Well, that's all that counts. It doesn't matter that after your wife found out about your affair, she divorced you, your children grew up in a one-parent home guaranteeing that they'd live in poverty for the rest of their lives, your daughters had low self-esteem and were abused by men their whole lives because they never had a father around to tell them how valuable they were, your sons turned into men who abused women because you weren't there to teach them the right way to treat women, and your wife died of an STD that you contracted from the other woman. But hey, those things don't really matter. How can I judge you? At least you tried." Here's a thought, why don't we stop trying and just start doing! Just do the right thing, for heaven's sake. I understand that Christians struggle with sin (after all, we aren't perfect), but 1 Corinthians 10:13-14 says "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." So for Christians, this means one of two things. Either God's a liar and He doesn't really give us the strength to do the right thing and we're tempted beyond what we can bear, or sometimes, we'd rather just do the wrong thing. My bet's on the latter. So please, either use the strength that God's given every Christian, or just admit that you gave in to sin. But don't give the pathetic excuse about "trying". Just trying to do the right thing doesn't count.

3 comments:

  1. I agree that many people, including Christians, don't "try" hard enough or wimp out when the going gets tough. Many of us (including you and me at times, as we all fail) are just like what you say.
    I would not, however, paint all Christians (or others) in the U.S. with that brush. I have witnessed at our church and at the nursing home where we work intense and real struggles, pain, and suffering. And through it all, someone was faithful. Someone finished the course. Someone completed the job.
    I'm reminded of the line from the movie, "A League of Their Own" when Jimmy Dugan is talking to Dottie Hensen, who is quitting the team and going home with her hubby. She tells Jimmy that it's only a game, and that it's gotten "too hard."
    Jimmy replies, "It's supposed to be hard! If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great!"
    The hard...is what makes life great. And sadly, all too many people never experience the hard, so they never experience life.

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  2. Are you crying? there's no crying in baseball!

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  3. I understand the point of your blog, and for the most part, I agree in principle. I guess, maybe, though, I would be considered someone that doesn't know how to use the strength God gives every Christian because often, I do fail. I make many attempts to "try", and yet, many times victory doesn't come until many trials have passed. Growth occurs when we learn from our mistakes, and thankfully, God does not give up on us as we blunder through life. I personally, would not want to be judgemental of others and of their failures. That's a pretty precarious position to be in. Even the Apostle Paul said in Romans that he does the things he doesn't want to do.

    I think life is a series of three steps forward, and two steps back, or maybe more. None of us have it figured out. All of us "fail". All of us "try". Nobody has it all together. And that's what makes everyone's journey precious - what helps us grow as we learn from each other. If there's a family member that annoys me, there may come a time that I do fail to respond in love. Thankfully, God forgives. Gratefully, family members overlook others' faults. And we move on.

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