It is clear that for some people ‘faith deconstruction’ is just that. They have come to see the historic teachings and doctrines of the church as crafted to make us pawns and suppress our personhood. They are walking away from both the church and the traditional Christian faith altogether. For them, deconstruction—a dismantling—is the end-point of the process.
“No” she said, “you don’t understand.” She was right, as always. I did not understand grace. And then in the space of maybe a minute or so G launched into this exposition of God’s promise of forgiveness in the Bible. I don’t remember exactly what words she chose, but I know she said that God loved me and that all I had ever done and even all that I might continue to do that was wrong, it could all be forgiven.
How do we move from becoming anxious about what we see and read to being able to have peace as we build a habit of turning to God with prayers and petitions based on what is going on? And how do we keep from letting our minds go down an endless spiral of negative information and instead choose to dwell on restorative things?
In Philippians 1:9-11, Paul tells us his prayer is that “Your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” We can only imagine how different our work will be if we see it as a place where our experience of the gospel makes us more loving to our neighbors in and through our work.
I have to see that I have a need for forgiveness because I am a sinner. Now, that’s sort of negative. That’s humility. That helps toward forgiving other people when you realize “I’m a sinner too”. But that’s the bad news. The good news is the cost of forgiveness. What God went through, what Jesus went through in order to get you that forgiveness and to forgive you freely. And that fills you with grateful joy, and there’s a need for both the humility and the joy.