The 2 Sides of Faith (Protests Here and in Haiti)
Today I am taking a break from the "Dark Side of Haitian Orphanages" series because I wanted to write this blog about faith. I am not sending it out through email, but hopefully you will get here through social media or because of curiosity.
I want to share the Covid-19 stats in Haiti with you: as of this writing there are 2,640 active cases and 50 deaths. These numbers continue to grow and probably do not represent the true effects that the virus is having there. We are also well aware that the political upheaval and protests in Haiti are far from being over. At the same time we are praying very hard for our country and the racial issues combined with the pandemic that we are experiencing here. It is definitely a crazy time to be alive and to have our lives segmented in 2 countries that are really struggling right now.
I have written this line on the top of my quiet time page for almost a week straight:
"The 2 Sides of Faith"
I know that faith can be both a very simple and very complicated topic, and there are many facets that I will not get to in this simple blog. Here is what I have been thinking about and praying through:
1. Hebrews 11:1. The idea of faith being tied to belief.
2. James 2:14-26. The idea of faith being tied to works.
One of the most difficult things to comprehend about faith is that there are 2 distinct but complimentary sides to it. It would seem like if faith is more about belief then it cannot be about action and if it is about action it could not be about belief.
For instance, when James says "I will show you my faith by what I do" is that even possible. Is it possible for me to live my life in such a way that people know what I believe? Of course not.
At the same time, faith being more about belief, and the idea that Paul says in Epheisans 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works so that there could be no boasting. Is it possible to have a faith strong enough to save us but to continue living the same way we lived prior to that faith entering our life? Of course not.
The problem is that faith is more complicated than what we give it credit for. It is not as simple as just living right and it is not as easy as believing right. Here are 2 ways of thinking that have gotten far too popular in the church:
- "Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." (St Francis of Assisi)
- "I just believe in grace, works do not matter. We may do some good things here and there, but I want to spend my life buried in deep theological thought."
My point is that just living your life with Christian values without sharing what you believe means nothing. There are a lot of what we classify as "good" people in the world, but you are more than that. The moment Jesus saved you, you became more than a person of character, values, and good work. You became a theologian who should want to get to know GOD more and more every single day.
At the same time, if you only pursue theological knowledge at the expense of helping other people, then you are about as far from the person that you follow as you could be. We were not called to study in an ivory tower, but to get to know Christ and who He is to the point that everything about our life changes.
Faith comes first, but if actions do not follow, then faith was never there.
I think about the protests both here in America and in Haiti. These are perfect examples of how people have believed so strongly in something that it led them to action. In both instances, a belief and conviction started in the hearts of people that grew to such a point that those beliefs and convictions bubbled over and spilled into intense and purposeful action.
This is not a political statement by any means. This is a call to such a deep study of the Word of GOD and a knowledge of who GOD is that you cannot hold it in. A conviction to see the injustices of the world as your opportunity to show and then share the Word of GOD. A belief in who GOD is that is so strong that you cannot keep the Gospel inside anymore.
If you can hold it in and not share it, it is not conviction, and if it is not conviction then it is not faith. Haitians took to the streets because they believed so strongly in the idea that corruption was evil that they could not hold it in. People in America grew weary of seeing needless, public, and hateful death to the point that they could no longer sit on the sidelines.
What about us? Are we not tired of seeing people die apart from knowing GOD? Are we not tired of seeing babies killed before even given the chance to live? Are we not tired of people being killed and taken advantage of because of the color of their skin, their financial position, or the country where they were born? Are we not tired of a world that is increasingly anti-Christ?
My point is that we know these things are going on, and in the face of people dying apart from Christ, we live our 9 to 5 lives. We teach our kids that the lessons they learn from sports are more important than the lessons they learn from Church. We figure out the next big toy, great vacation, or wonderful experience we can have even as people are dying in poverty apart from Christ. We watch a group of people (both here and in Haiti) that have gotten to the point that they believe the only thing they can do is protest, and we tell them why they are wrong rather than standing beside them and figuring out how to help.
The two sides of faith should do these 2 things:
1. Lead us to such a deep desire to understand the Word of GOD and what we believe about Him that it becomes our obsession.
2. Lead us to the type of faith that HAS to act.
These 2 sides of faith are not contradictory, they are complimentary. They lead us to both know exactly who we love and what we believe while at the same time being forced (for lack of a better term) into action because we cannot hold those beliefs and subsequent convictions in any longer.