That’s how we’ve always been in my family – hiding our problems from each other because of not wanting to cause others to worry: not telling your mother when you’re ill, or when your marriage is on the rocks, or when you’re in trouble financially, or whatever, because you don’t want to worry her – behaviour we had all learned from her as we were growing up. I remember my mum’s reaction when she found the cigarettes in my room when I was 14: don’t let your father find out, he’d have a heart attack. That was the constant refrain amongst us: don’t tell Mother, don’t tell Father, don’t cause people to worry…
And sometimes it can be right – sometimes the good and loving thing is to keep the bad news from someone who would only be too burdened by it and wouldn’t be able to help. But what if it’s bad news about yourself, and there actually is a solution? Say you go to the doctor and have all sorts of tests done and the doctor finds that you have a particular type of cancer which could kill you within the next three months, but there’s a special kind of medication you could take and it would completely wipe out the cancer – you wouldn’t want the doctor to tell you you’re fine, would you? You’d want to know. You’d want the chance to take that medication and be healed, right?
Telling someone everything’s fine when there’s a problem they really should be aware of – that’s a dangerous kind of lie. Especially when there’s something that can be done about it – it’s one thing to say, I’m going to let this person have an illusion of safety even though I can see a bomb coming at us, because there’s no time for us to get to a shelter and we’re going to die anyway, so what’s the point of making them panic; or for a doctor to decide: I’m going to let this patient believe they’re ok because there’s really nothing I can do for them; but it’s a whole ‘nother story if you tell people everything is fine when the house is on fire and there is a way out!
This is one of the two major lies people tell you about sin, and the other lie is closely connected.
The first lie is this: people tell you that it’s ok, that you don’t really have a problem, that God isn’t for real, or that God doesn’t really mind. Sometimes they say it for the same reason as what we do in my family – not wanting to worry you, wanting you to be happy and therefore saying the sort of stuff that they think will make you happy. Which would be fine if it wasn’t a matter of life and death. Or if there wasn’t a solution.
The other lie is not so much “there’s nothing you can do about it” as: it’s up to you to fix it.
There are all sorts of religions and ideologies and philosophies of life that say: here’s what you have to do to make everything ok/to become ok with God/to reach heaven or nirvana or whatever. Lots of fake remedies being sold in the market place for the disease that is eating up the whole world and the whole of humanity. Lots of fake diagnoses too.
Jesus said he is the only way to the Father. He came and died so that all who believe in him would have eternal life. He is the remedy – the only true remedy. His death on the cross is the only sacrifice needed, once and for all, as atonement for all the sins of all mankind – there’s nothing we can do to atone for our sins but that’s ok, he has done it!
Anyone who tells you that you’re fine as you are and that God isn’t going to punish you for your sin – they may have good intentions but they’re misleading you and keeping you from reaching for Jesus now, while you still can, and being saved!
Anyone who tells you that if you do xyz then you’ll be saved from God’s justice – they’re selling you snake oil, even though they may sincerely believe in its medicinal qualities, and again they are misleading you and keeping you from reaching for Jesus, who is the only way to salvation.
I don’t want to worry you, but nor do I want to let you keep sleeping when the house is on fire and there is a way out. I won’t pretend that you don’t have a problem – you do, we all do, and it’s fatal except… except that God has provided us with a way out, so you don’t need to worry, you just need to turn to Jesus and be saved.