“If Christ is God, He cannot sin, and if suffering was a sin in and by itself, He could not have suffered and died for us. However, since He took the most horrific death to redeem us, He showed us in fact that suffering and pain have great power.”
― E.A. Bucchianeri
I am nervous writing a devotional for today of all days. As a kid I always wondered why it was called Good Friday, when this day a memorial for the Cruxifixction. However, being the daughter of a self-taught Biblical scholar, I never went far for answers… indeed, I often didn’t even need questions, since my Mom would recount verses and theorize on their meaning like some mothers inform their daughters of soap operas stories.
The Cruxifixction has many lessons, the magnanimity of forgiveness and the malignity of human nature. However, what I’m focusing on is how Christ’s suffering is a direct condemnation of the Prosperity Gospel. If you are not familiar, the Prosperity Gospel, as defined by wikipedia, is “is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God…The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be blessed… The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith.”
This means those who are poor or suffering must be spiritually deficient. For many it offers a comforting form of control, “if I do A, B and C for God then I will have health and wealth.” For other more ruthless individuals, they can use their wealth as a sign they are favored by God no matter how they cheat their fellow man or pollute the environment. It also means followers of the Prosperity Gospel feel no obligation to help the poor or clean the environment because they believe it is God’s will.
Many Christian scholars call this philosophy “hearsay.” I will go a step further, the Prosperity Gospel is blasphemy. If there was a shred of truth to this, there would be no book of Job and Jesus, who according to the Bible was without sin, would have never been Crucified.
We should give the problems that are beyond us to God, but we must remember that the answer to prayers can be no. In the meantime, we have a duty to be good stewards of this world, to help our fellow humans and conserve the environment. Those of us who have the time and resources to reduce plastics, must pave the way for those too overwhelmed by life to participate.