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Is Christianity a Crutch?


The other day an acquaintance of mine divulged to me that he feels Christianity is just a crutch — that it’s for those people who can’t face the world without something to prop them up.

He wasn’t trying to be rude; he honestly did not have any idea about my faith. This is partially because I am generally reserved and partially because I’m a giant coward.

I didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything. I’ve been thinking about it since, and I’m a bit mad at myself for missing such a great opportunity to share what the Gospel is all about. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is not limited by my failures — His ability to draw people to faith is in no way dependent on me. Whew.

But I still have a responsibility to share the reason for my hope (1 Peter 3:15).  I still wish I had availed myself of the opportunity while I had it.

If I could go back in time, here’s what I would say:

I agree. Christianity is for the weak. To say that it functions as a crutch is, if anything, a grand understatement. It not only props me up, it enables me to walk through each day in faith. Without it, I would have no hope: no hope of ever ridding myself of my own selfishness and wrong desires; no hope for a clean conscience; no hope of ever being reconciled to the God who made me; no hope for anything beyond the immediate circumstances; no hope in death or suffering; no hope that anything in this world has any ultimate meaning.

Jesus came to die for me because I was too blind to even know my own need for Him, too weak — in fact, the Bible says I was dead (Ephesians 2:1) — to help myself. None of my feeble efforts come close to offering me salvation, security and hope, so I rely on God to be true to His promises. I trust Him to change my hard heart and to spare me of His judgment because of the atonement and righteous covering He provided for me through His own Son.

All of this — all of it — shows my weakness, my insufficiency, my desperate state. So if you are under the impression that Christians are weak and needy, you’re right. That is exactly what we are.

I am so thankful that Christianity is for the weak, because that means it’s for me.

I remember Jesus’ words that it is not the well who need a doctor — it’s the sick (Matthew 9:12, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31, 32).

I am “the sick” to whom He was referring. Before a just and holy God demanding perfection, isn’t this all of us? We all fall so far short of His righteousness (Romans 3:23).

It’s offensive, but it’s the truth. Approaching God from a position of weakness is the only way I know how. I love the hymn “Rock of Ages.” The lyrics are beautiful:

Nothing in my hands I bring, 

Simply to thy cross I cling.

Naked, come to thee for dress;

Helpless, look to thee for grace;

Foul, I to the fountain fly;

Wash me Savior, or I die.

How so very true.

It is only in this honest admission of my weakness that the power of the Gospel overwhelms me, for His power is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

 Sarah Johnston is a senior majoring in elementary education at the University of Maryland. She enjoys reading, writing, and all things Annapolitan.

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