Sunday, 10 July 2016

The God Truth

Hey, guys. Hope you’re all doing okay.

If this blog will discuss aspects of Christianity, it’ll be weird not to explain the most important message of Christianity, called the gospel.

It might be that, like me before I became a Christian, you know this buzzword, may have even thrown it around in religious contexts, but have very little idea what it means. The word “gospel” means “good news” – I know, probably a phrase that makes you feel sick if you’re in anything of a precarious state. But it is good news, if you know what has happened.

So almost everyone will know the concepts of Heaven and Hell, and the purpose of them. Heaven is the place for all the “good” people, where we will eternally enjoy God’s presence and all His glorious gifts in perfect unity with him. Hell is the place for all the “bad” people, where they will eternally endure torture and torment, separated from God’s wonderful gifts and even God Himself (but not; bit theologically complicated).

I apologise if the reality of Hell upsets some people – it upset(s) me; I just want everyone to go to Heaven – but that is what the Bible says. The Bible, thought written by flawed humans, is the Word of God, what we call God-breathed; God was speaking through all the authors, telling them what words to say. Everything in it is true.

So, Heaven and Hell exist, and if you’re “good” you go to Heaven, and if you’re “bad” you go to Hell. However, imagine it’s an exam you take to get into Heaven; failure leads to Hell. Most people think of it in this way: “if I’m good enough, I’ll get into Heaven”; “as long as I don’t mess up too many times, I’ll avoid Hell.” But what if I put it to you like this: the exam is an Oxford/Cambridge English Literature exam, a Harvard Law exam. Difficult, right? And now this: the “pass mark” is 100%. Nearly impossible. Some of you may be thinking that it can still be done. That is true, but that’s because this analogy doesn’t fit properly. In order to get into Heaven – God’s resting place – we have to be as perfect as He is. Completely and utterly spotless. Basically, it is impossible for anyone to get into Heaven. We’re simply not good enough. We’re not even nearly good enough.

Massively disheartening, right?

BUT

God loves us too much to let us go. All these mistakes we made – “sins” is the technical term – need to be paid for, because God is perfectly just. He can’t simply sweep it under the carpet, or He wouldn’t be just. But the payment is eternity in Hell, and God couldn’t and can’t bear for us to go through that. He wants perfect relationship with us, as we were created to have in Adam and Eve, the first humans God created.

So, in order to keep justice and to keep us with Him, God sent His beloved Son to take the punishment for us, through death on the Cross. When Jesus Christ died on the Cross, every single sin, past, present and future, were forgiven, and Christ’s glory, coming from His status as the Son of God, is shared with us if we believe He saved us by His death and accept Him as Lord. Take a moment to think of that, re-read it if you want. All those times you hate yourself, all those thoughts that say you’re not good enough, all those voices that insist you’re not worth anything…. Jesus Christ, while terrified of His known future death, looked forward in time to you – specifically – and said “I get [your name] for the price of agonising death and separation from my Father? No brainer.” And He died. For you.

If you ever think you’re worthless or that no one loves you, remember this. The Creator of the universe died for you because it was too painful to lose you. He has loved and will love you for eternity.


So recap: we deserve nothing but punishment from God because we’re not perfect (as we were created to be), but instead, through His love, He sent His Son to be punished instead of us, so we can live with Him eternally. There is one who can, does and will love you more than you can ever imagine for longer than you’d ever believe. And He’s the One who holds stars like grains of sand.

Call me Daisy

Hi, guys. Call me Daisy. Kind of nervous but I want to – need to – do this.

Mental health can be an awkward topic. Mental health issues like depression and anxiety can be even more awkward. Thankfully we are now in a more enlightened time of mental health and associated issues. The “buck-up”, “don’t be so weak” and “sort yourself out” mentality still remains sadly, but the majority of people now even slightly accept that there are such things as mental disorders that you cannot just “snap out” of. This is a big blessing.

But it is so much harder to really understand the situation these disorders put people in. I myself helped friends in the past who I knew were suffering with depression and/or anxiety. But I couldn’t empathise with them, with their internal sufferings, with the complete lack of choice they had, until I had experienced both conditions for myself.

This discrepancy between the reality of those suffering and the perception of those around them results in painful misunderstandings and heartbreak in both parties. As someone who has both watched and personally experienced this, I would never – never – wish any of that pain on anyone.

Therefore, anyone who cares, please listen. Let me talk about my observations, so that I can help make you a little wiser about this. Please, let me have the delight of saving you some pain.

I will declare something now, I’m not hiding this; this blog is not just about depression, nor even depression and anxiety. This blog is about depression, anxiety and the Christian faith. Many of you will switch off – and at worst, click off – as soon as you read that. But allow me to ask those of you who are persevering: of the possibly many problems you have with the existence of God, is the existence of evil one of them? If so, there is not a single person – Christians included – who doesn’t struggle with this problem. Christians don’t have some magical immunity against suffering. We are human. We live in the same broken world as everyone.

Just a request/demand; questions about the faith are whole-heartedly encouraged. I may answer some individually, and some collectively in new posts. So feel free to post questions. What are discouraged – to put it lightly – are purposeless attacks on Christianity or any religion. I’m not saying this to “protect my fragile delusion”, as I’ve been accused of before by non-Christians. I’m putting these limits in place because, with any luck, people in very precarious and dangerous places will be reading this blog, and some of them may be Christian. For all any of us know, an attack on their faith could be all it takes to force a suicide attempt. It’s that serious. You may be angry with God, so all you want to do is shout at Him. That’s normal. All I ask is that you don’t discourage others with everything that discourages or confuses you.

The point of this blog is to inform, encourage and support. If this helps you in any way, please let me know so I can reuse those strategies. Equally, if something is unhelpful, let me know so I can rethink how I work.


Disclaimer: the things I write about in this blog are things I have experienced and observed myself. Depression affects many different people in many different ways, so what I write about here may not be the experiences of others and will certainly not apply to everyone.