Why Christians Shouldn’t Have Faith in Humanity

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Classmates shave their heads in solidarity with a sick child.

Someone shares their meal with a homeless man on the street.

A policeman stops to help a little kid tie their shoe.

And the world cries, “Faith in humanity restored!”

Even Christians talk this way without even thinking about it. But I think there’s a problem with Christians using this phrase. Isn’t the fallenness of humanity one of our fundamental beliefs?

Truthfully, we can have no ultimate faith in humanity. 

If our faith is in humanity, our faith is in something that will always ultimately fail us. Back in the Garden of Eden, humanity failed us, in the form of Adam and Eve, and ever since then people have been a mess.

The kid will get bullied. The homeless man will get ignored. The disabled girl will be ridiculed and the bad people will reach the top, no matter how little they deserve it. That one sin back in Genesis started a chain reaction that will continue for the whole history of Earth.

Ultimately people will always fail, and people who put their hope in people will always be disappointed.

But what about all those heartwarming stories, all those people doing genuinely good things? They can’t be discounted completely. They can’t be ignored. If humanity is really in as horrible a state as I’ve described, how do we explain random acts of kindness, acts of service, acts of love?

These things should not restore our faith in humanity. They should restore our faith in God. 

If the Christian looks at the good things in the world and feels restored faith for humanity, they are committing idolatry, putting humans in the place of God. When we look at the good things in the world, our faith in God should be strengthened, increased, heightened.

Because if humanity is really as badly messed up as Christianity believes, the existence of any good at all is proof that God is present, and He is always working.

He is the one prompting people to serve others, changing hearts and changing lives. On our own, humanity can’t get anywhere. We’re stuck in a cycle of anger and fear and hurt and selfishness. But with God, anything is possible. And because of Christ, He can take a broken humanity and bring beautiful things out of it.

So, those “faith in humanity” Pinterest posts and stories on the radio? They should mean so much to the Christian, because we know that the existence of those posts and stories is only because of God’s grace to the world. When we hear them, we should not feel an arrogant faith in the human race. We should feel a humble, grateful faith in God, who is the only source of beauty and goodness, and who can redeem anyone.

Faith in humanity will get us nowhere. Faith in God will.

love, grace

What do you think? Have you ever really thought about this phrase before? Do you agree with me? Disagree? Share in the comments below! 

Read more:

After the Rain: Lessons from a Stormy Day

Why I Don’t Limit Myself to “Christian” Entertainment

Boundaries, Rebellion, and “Living on the Edge”

Boundaries, Rebellion, and “Living on the Edge”

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In today’s culture, especially among teens, people often have the following attitude.

How much can I get away with before I get caught?

How disrespectful can I get before I get called out?

How far can I go before I wreck my life?

We won’t talk about how destructive this attitude is in general, as that’s a conversation for another day. What I want to talk about now is the problem that surfaces when we apply this attitude to our Christian life.

It’s a principal called maximal righteousness vs. minimal righteousness. 

(I’m not entirely sure where I heard this terminology for the first time. I’m pretty sure I didn’t make it up.)

The question for us, as Christians, should not be “How far can I go before it counts as sin?” This is only striving for minimal righteousness. 

Minimal righteousness is the kind of life that only seeks to know where the absolute limits are, to live on the edge between God’s standards and the world’s culture. In minimal righteousness, the only thing that matters is where the loopholes and the absolute boundary line are. And that is not how God calls us to live.

What is the alternative? Living a life of maximal righteousness. In maximal righteousness, the question is “How much can I live to glorify God?” To live a life of maximal righteousness is to live a life that seeks to glorify God in every way, to stay as far away from the edge as possible, to be completely separate from the world’s culture.

This applies to everything we do. I’ve heard it most applied to dating and purity (not “how far can we go?” but rather “how pure can we stay?”). It can apply to lots of other things as well: how you treat your family, friends, teachers, etc., how diligent you are at your schoolwork…

This is the righteousness that God calls us to.

It’s important to remember, though, that this does not mean striving for perfection on our own. What I’m talking about is the mindset we have as we go about our lives, not actually living our lives perfectly in maximal righteousness all the time.

Remember that we do not have to do this on our own: not cultivate the mindset, not live a perfect life, none of it. God works in us; without the Holy Spirit, we would be lost. Pray that God would help you to live in maximal righteousness, that he would change your heart and attitude.

Pray that He would enable you to reject the cultural rebellion of pushing boundaries and instead choose to go beyond what is required in order to do what is fully right.

love, grace