They talk of glass houses. Well, I built a crystal cathedral. —The Classic Crime
We’ve heard the old line. People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Generally, we hear this line used in regards to hypocrisy, but that’s a bit off the mark. The more accurate reading speaks to vulnerability.
People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, because retaliation will bring their walls down, too.
In other words, if you can’t take it, then don’t dish it out. Everybody has stones. Don’t go asking for some to be lobbed your way.
However, I can see how both make good sense. You could say that hypocrisy is only a thing because of our own vulnerabilities. We’re all prone to fall, to falter, and to fail. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian or not. We all mess up, but we don’t own it. We don’t take responsibility, and we don’t like being held accountable for our actions. After all, it’s a lot easier to point out flaws in others than it is to acknowledge flaws in ourselves.
It’s unfortunate that we are so comfortable doing what is so easy.
To make matters worse, Christians are taught how to argue with non-believers. There are innumerable books written on the subject of apologetics, or reasoned arguments in defense of Christianity. The authors appeal to the evidence, whether they look to eye-witness accounts, historical documents (the Bible or otherwise), and whatever else can be pulled together. When I was younger, I read Evidence That Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell. It seems that this is the book that really brought apologetics to the forefront that they currently enjoy. At least, it was the first that I was exposed to, and seems to be the benchmark that others strive to meet. (The link will take you to an updated version, and I really do recommend it!)
The problem with this evidence, valid as it may be, is that we use it to craft arguments to try and convince people to become Christians. We are even instructed to employ these well-crafted arguments with our heathen friends to prove their folly to them. I’m not saying it’s wrong to have open discussions with people, but when your only conversations about your faith follow a script written by a television star turned street preacher, there is a problem.
We act as if we need to defend God, and defend His claims.
Unfortunately, most people are not convinced to embrace faith because of a reasonable argument. Modern psychology would tell you that people usually change because of three factors: fear, force, or pain. Don’t believe me? Try something less earth-shattering than Jesus. Discuss politics with your disagreeable friends. See if your most reasonable pleas bring the intended results. It doesn’t matter if you’re right or not. People are entrenched in their beliefs, whether religious or political, and it will take more than you can bring to change their minds.
Besides, God doesn’t want us to merely weigh the evidence and decide. He wants us to love Him, and to do so passionately. God is really head-over-heels for us, and longs for us to reciprocate.
The only evidence that is likely to matter is what the Bible refers to as “the fruit of the Spirit.”
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23
You want to prove to your friends that Jesus is alive? You’ll have to back up the claims that He is alive in you first. And you know what? You’re going to screw it up.
Sorry, but it’s true. After all, pobody’s nerfect. You can’t get this done in your own strength, and you’ll never live up to the standard of perfection.
You will succumb to hatred.
Peace will be rejected for war.
Tempers will flare.
You are going to lose it, and it’s going to be messy, and people might just throw it in your face.
One moment, you’re perched atop your own crystal cathedrals, beautiful but empty, thinking that you are housed in a great stronghold, but quickly find that you are in quite a precarious position, and only in the moments after the walls come crashing down.
When you trust yourself to validate your faith, you will always be disappointed.
You’re vulnerable. Defenseless. And when your glass house shatters around you, you might realize how exposed you were all along.
There will come a time, and likely many times, when you look nothing like Christ.
Fortunately, you’re not the only one working on your friends. You can’t convince them alone. Heck, you can’t convince them at all. After all, no person convinced you. That job remains with the Holy Spirit (John 16:8).
He will convince people of their sin. He will validate the truth of the Word of God, whether that is through you or through some other means.
Trust God. You might think that you’ve got this under control, but you don’t. You might think that you’re buoyant, but in reality you are taking on a dangerous amount of water.
Your ship is sinking. Trust the Captain of your soul to do His job. After all, He can walk on water anyhow.
Don’t misunderstand me on this. I’m not throwing out apologetics altogether. They have their place, but it’s not my job to convert you. Nothing that I can say will convince you to become a Christian.
After all, none but Christ could convince me.
That was a single post in a series, celebrating individual songs from one of my favorite bands, The Classic Crime, and their album “Phoenix” (available here). It is my hope that whether you like the band or not, there will be something in the posts that will resonate with you.
I don’t intend to go through all 13 tracks, but I’ll be doing several of them. Among other things, these posts express my anticipation for their next album, scheduled for release in early 2017. I’m probably more excited than a grown man should be for something like this, but I’m okay with that.