Christianity is Harmful
Christianity harms women by teaching wives to submit to husbands. Christianity harms children by brainwashing them into a closed-minded system of beliefs. Christianity harms people by setting forth oppressive standards for sexual activity that result in crippling guilt when those standards go unmet. Christianity harms people who identify as gay or transgender by demanding that they change something intrinsic to their self-understanding. Christianity harms society by asserting a fundamental distinction between the saved and the lost, the righteous and the ungodly. And if this were not enough, Christianity is down in the basement right now, boiling and bubbling up a cauldron of harm for anyone they might have missed on the first go-round.
These criticisms of Christianity are wrong. The only thing harmed by Christianity is Satan’s kingdom. But they are wrong in a uncomfortable way: none of these criticisms goes far enough. Jesus doesn’t want to insult you, shame you, manipulate you, browbeat you, or force you to toe His line. It’s worse than that. Jesus wants you dead.
The Meaning of Life and Death
These complaints against Christianity are desperate attempts to preserve a way of life out from under God’s authority. If you can convince yourself that God’s ways are oppressive, harmful, and evil, then you will have justified your continued rebellion against Him. And so “harm” is redefined as anything that challenges your right to rule yourself. This redefinition is powerful. It allows you to have freedom and life on your terms. But look closely: freedom and life have been redefined, too. What “freedom” now describes is your slavery to your own desires. “Life” in your new dictionary has the same meaning that “death” has in God’s. By trying to save your life from God, you lost your life.
But Jesus doesn’t want you to lose your life. He wants you save it. And the only way to save your life is to die. Your fundamental commitment to living life your way is what is killing you, and the bad news is that there is no remedy other than death. The good news is that in Christ, there is life after death. Jesus wants you to die so that He can give you new life, life that is truly life. Apart from Christ, death really is the end, and it is inevitable, no matter how many of your rules and redefinitions you throw at it. If you try to save your life apart from Christ, you will lose it.
But if you die with Christ, then you will save your life. What happened to Jesus will happen to you. He will take you down to death with Him, and He will raise you up to new life, free from the cancer of sin that dooms you now. Sin is so tangled up in your life without Christ that death has already set in, but if your body of sin is brought to nothing, then you will be set free from sin, and free from death.
What Jesus really harms is death. At Calvary, Jesus gave death a death-wound by dying on the cross and then refusing to stay dead. Death that doesn’t end a life is a dead sort of death, and this is the death that Jesus wants for you. Jesus doesn’t want to harm you. He wants you to die, so that He can destroy your death forever. So stop trying to save your life from Jesus. Lose your life for Jesus’ sake, and you will save it.