Stop asking why they “don’t get it.”

This plays itself out quite often. Someone brings up “the reason for the season,” and someone else is convinced that He never existed. The church person will go post or talk to their friends about how “people just refuse to see.” They just refuse to understand. They just don’t get it. Why don’t they just get it? They ask why people won’t even attempt to understand what “we” believe in, and see that it’s true!

I’m not going to contradict its truth. I absolutely believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of a living, omnipotent, loving, wonderful, gracious, and all-powerful God. I believe that Jesus, in light of the inborn sin of humanity, willingly died on a cross in our place and took on the punishment that we rightly deserved, because he is gracious and forgiving and He loves us. But I keep hearing this question from Christians over, and over, and over. Why don’t they just open their eyes and see that it’s true? Why don’t they get it?

But here’s a question: Did you?

People experience salvation in different ways, depending on the person, but most stories fall into one of two categories. In the first category, we have the story that goes like this: One day, you were happily (or maybe unhappily) living your life, God-free, and suddenly you were convicted of the Truth, and you fell down on your knees with the overwhelming power of it, and only then did you begin to explore the vastness of His majesty and grace, and discover Him. But what it took was that initial force knocking you down.

The second story goes something like this: You began to question. You have an inquisitive nature, and you were drawn to find out the truth, once and for all. Or maybe it was something else that led you to explore the Christian God. But you began, and after much research and exploration, and hours spent devoted to figuring out if this was the Truth, you finally felt it. And you fell down on your knees, finally understanding.

Different people have different stories. But whichever way you experienced salvation, it had very, very little to do with you, and it had everything to do with God’s active pursuit of you through whatever means necessary. And who, other than the one who created you, could better understand the means that would be necessary?

So back to that pesky question: Why don’t they get it?

People don’t get it because they’re living in darkness. Not necessarily by conscious choice, but because the shackles of sin keep them there. Just like those shackles kept you there before that moment when you fell down on your knees, which was, absolutely, God’s work and not yours. When we ask questions like “Why won’t they just open their eyes?” we ignore the requisite presence of God, and the necessary power of God over sin, and we turn it into a question of our own willpower over those shackles. But our will is shackled to the sin, along with the rest of us. It can’t break them.

When we ask “Why don’t they get it?” it put us in some kind of special, superior position as compared to the person whom we are deeming a “sinner” incapable of “getting it.” It completely ignores the power of the gospel, and makes us seem like we’re somehow superior, even though, before (or unless) God acted in our lives, we were just the same. And we still are the same except that God chose to save us, and Jesus covered our sins. You’re not special because of anything you did, it’s because of what He chose to do. This question “Why don’t they get it?” says “used my own power to break the bonds of sin, and God was only an accessory, or a prize that I sought. I found the truth on my own, so these people should be able to as well.” And that’s not salvation, nor does that glorify God in any way.

The Truth is not something that the people in question once understood fully, and knew, and yet chose to forget or ignore. They did not experience the power and the love and the truth of Christ, and simply say, “Eh, that’s not for me.” Because how is it possible to encounter the love of Christ and not display it? It isn’t possible. If you have not experienced it, then you can’t display it. So they don’t get it because they never knew it. 

The thing is, God could be doing 10,000 things in anyone’s life at any given time, and they might only be aware of 3 of them. By the time you come to them, befriend them, build a relationship, and begin to show them Jesus, God was already there, working. He’s been there for their entire life, working. And they never knew it until years down the line, maybe decades. So can we please stop asking “Why don’t they get it?” as if we’re superior, enlightened beings, and instead ask ourselves, “How can I be showing this person the truth of Jesus through humility and grace?”

Sorry, you’re not being persecuted.

It’s the Christmas season. Bells are ringing; it’s snowing (not where I live, but in some places); sleigh bells are ringing; children are laughing, probably at a fart joke, while others are crying because they’re selfish little bastards who aren’t getting what they want for Christmas; someone has a Rudolph nose on their car (how cute); someone else is putting up their tree and stringing lights; girls everywhere are taking their winter selfies, being sure to get their best angle and include the red Starbucks cup they’re holding, which undoubtedly includes their misspelled name, and they’ll be sure to add hashtag #stupidstarbucksspellsmynamewrong #haha #omgeverytime! #peppermintmocha #starbucks #hashtags. And while all of this is occurring, Christians everywhere are being persecuted for their beliefs this Christmas. However, the ones that you see complaining about it on Facebook are more than likely not within the ranks of Christians who are actually being persecuted. Chances are, if you understand the language that this post is written in and you’re looking at it right now through some type of screen, you do not live anywhere near ISIS, or anywhere near a government who wants to kill you for your beliefs, or anywhere near a totalitarian regime that’s out to get you and will kill you if you are found with even one page of the Bible in your home. For crying out loud, you’re using your computer that connects to the Internet, probably while sitting in a Starbucks or equivalent coffee shop (you little hipster, you). Your Christmas shopping is probably done, or it’s going to be soon, you’ve got a credit card in your wallet, a warm jacket, a hat and a scarf, and you’re probably absorbed in your smart phone (which may be the screen you’re reading this off of, congrats).

If you’re one of those people who’s complaining on Facebook, then you’re probably complaining about one thing. And that complaint manifests itself as a lament that “Christ has been taken out of Christmas.” (And you will no doubt emphasis the word “Christ” in “Christmas” like that. Don’t even say you didn’t. I know you did it.) So far today, every other post has been some meme about us being “forced” to say “happy holidays” instead of “merry Christmas.” We’re clearly being persecuted, guys! That window painting has a snowman saying “happy holidays” and there’s  no reference to my religion!

That’s great. But here’s a question for you: Who the heck told you that everyone in the United States is being forced to say “happy holidays” or risk being publicly berated?

Here’s another question: Why is it so horrible and offensive that some people, mainly companies with a diverse base of customers, are using some non-holiday-specific greeting that is directed at people who maybe don’t believe in the same religion that you do?

And here’s yet another question: Why does it matter which greeting anyone uses at all? If someone said, “Happy Kwanzaa!” or, “Happy Hanukkah!” would you still be offended, because it’s not your holiday? How dare different people hold different traditions and beliefs. That’s outrageous and offensive.

And now here’s something to think about: I have heard the words “merry Christmas” come out of the mouths of nearly everybody who’s offered me a holiday greeting. If they said “happy holidays” instead, it was almost exclusively within their work environment, where, chances are, they were told to say that instead of something that was religiously affiliated, out of respect for their customers’ beliefs and preferences.

Now here’s another question: Why does “happy holidays” have to be referring to Christmas anyway? Are there not multiple holidays all within a matter of weeks? We go from Thanksgiving to Christmas to the New Year within two months. Actually less, considering Thanksgiving is at the end of November. So who’s to say that these people wishing you “happy holidays” aren’t referring to more than one of the holidays that falls between November 27 and January 1? The phrase “happy holidays” is actually used more in reference to a combination of Christmas and the New Year. Maybe this person is just thinking ahead. They know that you have not one, but two holidays coming up, and they won’t see you for the second, so they’re wishing it to be “happy” in advance.

This is not persecution, nor is it removing “Christ” from “Christmas.” Social media has grossly aided in the perception of some kind of mass outrage over the phrase “happy holidays,” and in perpetuating the idea that thousands of people (only in the United States, mind you) are being chastised for saying “merry Christmas” because it’s “offensive.” I know very few people who would find a holiday greeting offensive, and all of them are the type of people who would also be offended by someone looking at them the wrong way or stepping onto the sidewalk in an awkward fashion. But when you get a couple of people who are outraged about something and stick them on Twitter or Facebook, suddenly it looks like everybody is outraged. In reality, it’s a few easily-outraged people who are making a mountain out of what wasn’t even a mole-hill. More like they made their own mole-hill and then proceeded to make it into a mountain. It’s ridiculous, and this is not persecution in any sense of the word. There are literally Christians being beheaded in the Middle East. Little Children. That is being persecuted. There are governments in the world that have outlawed Christianity. The fact that the police have never showed up and disbanded your church, or taken your Bible away and arrested you, is a testament to the freedom that you actually have. Nobody is telling you that you can’t say merry Christmas, and when you tell other people to stop saying “happy holidays” simply because it offends you, since it doesn’t refer to your own beliefs, then you’re doing to them exactly what you’ve falsely claimed is being done to you. Where this Christmas Greeting War idea came from, I have no clue. But let’s stop perpetuating it, shall we?