Are You A-Not-Born-Again-Christian?

Born Again Christains I ask this question with tongue in cheek because: How can you be a real Christian and not be born again? How can you be born again and not be a real Christian? You really can’t be one without being the other! Yet, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard people describe themselves as being “a born-again Christian.” But biblically speaking; the term makes no sense! It is actually confusing, because by logical implication, it raises the possibility that one can be a Christian and not be born again or one can be born again and not be a Christian. And as I just stated, those two scenarios are biblically impossible! So why is there such wide-spread use of the term?

Is a born-again Christian more Christian than one who is simply a Christian? Is a born-again Christian more spiritual than someone who is simply a Christian? According to Wikipedia: The term “born again is a phrase used by many Protestants to describe the phenomenon of gaining faith in Jesus Christ. It is an experience when everything they have been taught as Christians becomes real, and they develop a direct and personal relationship with God.” Interesting definition. But my question of the definition is this: Before everything they have been taught becomes real and before they develop a direct and personal relationship with God; are they really Christians? Can one really be a Christian and not have a direct and personal relationship with God?  Could it be that many people today use the term “Christian” to denote some political or social identity while the term “born-again Christian” is used to denote the ones who are Christians in the biblical sense? I don’t know, but I think it’s more of a case of people making something simple complicated! Or it might be a case of people using terms because they sound good, not realizing they are not sound. But it’s not just ordinary people, I’ve heard the term used by preachers and pastors; some of national and international renown! The term sounds good! It sounds spiritual! It sounds “deep!” But it really makes no sense! It’s redundant! It’s like a person of Caucasian ethnicity calling themselves “a White Caucasian!” Or a person of the Negro ethnicity calling themselves “a Black Negro!” Technically speaking, there are no Black White people and there are no White Black people (Now, I know some people who would argue this point, but note that I said “technically speaking.”).

Now this post is just a case of me; thinking-out-loud. It’s really not a big theological issue! Keep calling yourself “a born-again Christian” if you want to. I just merely brought it up to help us understand that maybe some of the things we say and some of the terms we use in Christian circles should be given some more thought. And it could very well be that we say a lot of things without giving them much thought at all!

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Scabs and Scars

picking-a-scabSome months ago, I burned my arm while taking a tray out of the oven! Since it wasn’t a severe burn (in my expert medical opinion), I didn’t perform major surgery nor did I seek medical attention. I decided that since it was just a slight burn (I was only in contact with the hot spot for a milli-second!), I wouldn’t even put a Band-Aid on it; I would leave it alone and see how my body would heal itself.

Now, I’ve had burns, cuts, and bruises in the past and I would normally end up picking at the sore and making matters worse. But this time, I was determined to resist the urge to pick at it and allow the scab time to form and fall off by itself. And do you know what happened? Well, when it initially happened it hurt like the dickens! Then as time went on, it hurt less and less. Then, after some time, a puffy rising formed over the affected spot on my arm. Then the puffy rising went down and a harden scab formed. And then, after some time, the scab came off and while the spot of the burn no longer hurted or was even sore, there was a noticeable discoloration. Finally, the discoloration became less and less noticeable and the color in the spot returned to the point where it “almost” matched the coloring of the rest of my arm!

Now, I’m not telling you this to try to gross you out, but to relate to you that I learned a lesson from my burn. The lesson is that just as our bodies, if all things are normal, have the tendency to heal themselves (The purpose of medicine is not to heal or cure, but rather to assist the body where it is deficient in the process of healing and curing), so it is with life in general! There are a lot of people who think that life is out to get them or that they were “born to lose!” But that is not the case at all! Life is, in most cases, just like the normal healthy human body; when there is an injury, when something goes awry, life is healing and forgiving! Life is bent toward health, happiness, and healing!

But much of the pain we experience in life is not from our injuries, whether they be physical, psychological, or spiritual. Much of our pain comes from our tendencies to pick at the scabs and thus interrupt the healing process! For instance:  He’s already made it perfectly clear he doesn’t want you anymore! So why do you keep on pushing yourself on him; trying to make him change his mind? All you’re doing is just picking at the scab and not allowing the healing process! I know you loved your mother and her sudden death caught you and the rest of the family completely by surprise! But mother is gone and there is nothing you can do to bring her back! It’s been five years now; don’t you think it’s about time to pick up the pieces and move on? But instead, you are still grieving like it just happened last night! You’re bitter and angry with the rest of your family because they have moved on with their lives and you interpret their moving on as an indication that they didn’t love your mother as much as you did! No! All you’re doing is picking at the scab and not allowing the wound to heal!

But, even when do we allow time for the scab to form and fall off. And even when we don’t pick at the scab and allow time for the wound to heal, that does not eliminate the presence of the scar! As I am typing this very sentence, I’m pausing to look at the scar on my arm. The wound is completely healed! The scab is gone! It doesn’t hurt anymore! All that remains is the scar! In fact, if it wasn’t for the scar, there would be no trace of the injury! And as I look at other parts of my body, I can see scars, but I have forgotten what caused them!

The lesson in life is that once we have been healed of that psychological or spiritual wound and the scab is gone and all that remains is the scar; if we keep going in the direction of psychological and spiritual health, though the scars will always be present, we will even eventually forget the why and the what of the scars!  

My friend, no matter what you’re going through right now; be encouraged! Life is on your side! If you’ve been wounded or otherwise injured by the stuff that happens in life, be encourage! When the scab forms, don’t mess with it; leave it alone! That’s just life’s way of trying to keep the wound from getting infected! And when it’s all over and done, the only thing left will be a scar and if you just keep on going; you will even forget what caused the scar!