Why’d You Do What You Did?

(Title of this post is a really inappropriate reference to a Marianne Faithfull song.)


I’ve been thinking about this for a while…  I don’t fully have my thoughts organized and this is just off the top of my head with no outline or anything…but I’ve been thinking about it and I want to say something.


I’ve got a lot of friends who are Christians.  Maybe this is an obvious thing to say, I’m not sure…but as such, those friends tend to do “Christian” things.  I’ve been reading a similar “Christian” message on a LOT of Facebook pages lately that I think needs to be addressed.  A lot of my Christian friends have been talking about the importance of helping those who are in need.  Most frequently they’re talking about the homeless (as though the not-so-homeless don’t also need a good deed done, now and again—but that’s a side issue).  I’ve been reading things of the following tone for weeks… “Jesus wants us to help these people.”  “If we don’t help these people, how will they ever be reached for Christ?”  “You can’t witness to someone if you’re not willing to feed them.”  “We need to show Jesus to these people.”  Etc, etc…


Okay.  Fine…  But do you give a shit about the actual PERSON or are you just trying to gain a few Jesus-points?


Let me run this by you…and please think about it.  Suppose God doesn’t exist.  Suppose all of the Bible study, the faith, the worship, the desire to be more Christlike…suppose it’s all meaningless.  Suppose (and I’m not saying it’s true or that I believe it) that there is no God and your faith has all been worthless.  Do you still care about people?  Were you just being good to the needy (and/or maybe also the not-so-needy, too) because you think it’s a spiritual exercise, or do you actually care about the fact that people are living on the streets and will DIE without your help?


I submit this to you…  If you’re only being good to people because you think it’s going to get you into Heaven, you’ve got the wrong motive.


I’ll let that sink in…






Even if God doesn’t exist (and, again, I’m not saying He doesn’t), shouldn’t we still recognize the basic concept that a human being deserves the respect and care of other humans?  Shouldn’t it mean just as much that a secular institution gives food, blankets, and temporary shelter to a tsunami victim as it does if a “Christian” institution does it?  Isn’t that also a good thing?  Isn’t it still doing the “work of God” even if they don’t know who God is?  Isn’t it still a good deed?  Isn’t it okay to treat people with the heart of a Humanist, even if it’s a “secular” one?


…can’t we just be good to each other based on the concept that we’re all humans?


I submit to you that if you are only good to people because Christ TOLD you to be…if you only care about others because Jesus did…if you only show compassion out of a religious guilt-response…  If that’s who you are, then you’re a hypocrite.  It would be better if you disdained the homeless, the needy, the poor, and/or the just plain rich and unhappy and just ADMITTED it, rather than putting on the false-mask of Christ in order to give with anything less than your whole heart.


“But, Derek…are you saying it isn’t enough to be a good person just because God told you to be?”  Yes.  That is exactly what I’m saying.  You’re either a good person, or you’re just PRETENDING to be a good person.  You’re either a good person, or you’re a liar and the God you can’t even be 100% sure exists will spit you out of His mouth.  It’s not enough to just do what you’re told…you have to BE that person.  You can’t just perform all the right actions like an actor reading a part…you have to be the real person, living, breathing, and showing all your warts to the (metaphorical) reality-show crew.


So…who are you?  Do you care about people, or are you just acting out of religious obligation?  The road to Hell is paved with good intentions…and Jesus said that not everyone who calls Him “Lord” will enter Heaven.  Jesus calls you to integrity, not into grudging servitude.  It’s your call.  You can either be real or be pavement.


Whatever you are…be that.  If you’re not happy with who you are…change.  But let’s drop the act, let’s drop the false humility, and let’s drop the church speak…okay?


…and I bet a bunch of you are mostly just bugged by the fact that I used the word “shit” earlier on, aren’t you?