WONDERFUL THINGS: Is Christianity a crutch?
Have you ever heard someone criticize Christians and Christianity by saying, “The Christian faith is nothing but a crutch?”
It’s an interesting criticism. People in general don’t think that crutches are bad things. They are actually very useful if you have been injured. I’ve never been on crutches and had someone go “That’s nothing but a crutch!”
Why does a crutch become a bad thing when it's Christianity? And why is Christianity bad if it is a crutch? Ponder that for a minute. I tend to think that when people criticize Christianity and call it a crutch what they are actually saying is that crutches are things that are only used by sick, needy and weak people. Crutches are for cripples, and none of us want to be cripples — it offends us. So when people say to us that our faith is nothing but a crutch, they are saying that we must be weak, needy and crippled people — so Christianity is only for the weak and the needy and the crippled and to some folks this is bad.
The philosophy that lies behind this is that it is bad to be weak and needy and crippled — if we are to be truly happy we need to be full of self-esteem, strong and self-sufficient. We should be self-reliant and
But along comes Jesus, and he says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17).
Jesus’ message was never that we need to be stronger and have a deeper sense of our worth. Jesus instead says that if we want to enter His kingdom, we need to see and feel our utter poverty of spirit (Matthew
5:3-4). In other words, the first step to salvation and a life of blessedness is to recognize that before God we are all sinners; we are all weak; we are all crippled.
The apostle Paul described our fallen condition in this way, “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Romans 3:11-12).
And here comes Jesus and he does not bring a cure, he brings a crutch. He does not say, “You are strong. You are sufficient.” He says, “Look to me. Trust in me. I will forgive you. I will help you. I will never leave you. Are you weak and heavy burdened? Lean on me.”
I am crippled. I need a crutch. Jesus promises to be that crutch. That is good news. I hope that it is good news for you as well.
James Calderazzo is pastor of Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Destin. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.