I am sure that most if not all of us have heard the argument that Christianity is just a crutch or maybe a drug. A friend of mine recently posted this comic strip on Facebook that addresses that topic.
I have not engaged in this argument very often. I do not enjoy getting into a big dispute with somebody who just wants to debate, and I don’t think anyone is going to convince me to give up hope in Jesus by calling Him a crutch.
Here is the thing: if Jesus was just some guy way back in history that lived and died and said a few wise things along the way, then yes, putting our hope in Him is just a silly way to make ourselves feel better about our weaknesses and the bad things that happen in the world.
But if the truth is that Jesus is God, that He came and lived the perfect life we couldn’t live, died the death we deserved, rose again to defeat sin, Satan, and death, and will come again to make all things new, then our hope in Christ is absolutely valid. It is not some silly crutch or painkiller.
If what the Bible says about Jesus is true, why wouldn’t I lean on that “crutch”? Why wouldn’t I put my hope in Him? Moreover, would it not be an affront to God to say, “No, thanks, I will put my hope in something else”? If Jesus is really God - if He truly has all authority in Heaven and on Earth - it would be pretty foolish to act as if I can get through this life without Him, to focus only on the here and now as if this is all there is.
I used to respond to this argument with something like, “Well, I’d rather have this crutch and be wrong than go through life without hope.” Sometimes I still sort of think that. I wonder if I found out that Jesus was still dead, would my life change that much? Does it really matter if I believe and live my life in light of something imaginary?
But Paul says,
And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ…And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.
(1 Corinthians 15 : 14-19)
People are persecuted for faith in Jesus every day. People have lost their lives following His calling. If Jesus is still in the ground, then we Christians are pitiful. It would mean that we are wasting our lives and telling lies about God. It would mean that ALS did have the final word in my sister’s life. If Jesus is in the ground, giving our lives to Him is not only ridiculous, but it is hopeless. Forget this nonsense about taking up my cross if we have no hope in Jesus!
If Jesus is not who He says He is in the Bible, then hoping in Him is crazy, stupid, or misled. But if Jesus was, in fact, a dead man who is now ALIVE and who rules and reigns, then call it what you want – a crutch, a drug, whatever. It matters not what anyone thinks about it. We can confidently say to God with the psalmist,
Psalm 73 : 25-26
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.