Christianity Is About Facing Up to Your Own Evil
by Stuart DiNenno
When Christians are asked what Christianity is all about, most probably answer, “It’s about how to get to heaven.” or “It’s about following Jesus.” or “It’s about having peace with God.”
None of those answers are wrong but my answer is quite different.
When I am asked such a question, I like to look a man straight in the eye, point my finger at him and say: “Christianity is about facing up to your own evil and dealing with it.”
Why? Because it is like a slap in the face to wake him from his slumber. I just told him that he is evil and that something has to be done about it. It is almost certain that no one has ever done this to him before. It is a very provocative statement. It cannot be ignored.
I don’t say it just because it gets attention. I say it because it is the first thing people need to understand. Nothing about Christianity makes any sense until one comprehends the reality that he is evil. Christianity is, in fact, a remedial program for the evil of man. There would have been no need for Jesus Christ to have come into the world, there would have been no need for His sacrificial death, there would have been no need for His resurrection to life, and there would be no need for the redemption, justification, sanctification, and glorification of man, or any article of the Christian religion, if it were not for the evil of man. It is essential that the depraved nature of mankind be made known to everyone seeking the truth about God, and our religion cannot be understood apart from knowing it.
However, it is not just the nature of man in general that needs to be known but every man needs to grasp the reality of his own evil before he can truly embrace Christianity. In my opinion, it is not enough to only make general statements about the matter such as “mankind is a fallen creature” or “we are all sinners” or “our sins have separated us from God.” While these things are true, and even biblical, they are not personal and confrontational enough in a one-on-one encounter.
Men are ever diligent to avoid the condemnation that they deserve. In the human mind there is safety in numbers, and men will find a measure of solace in the fact that they are in the same boat as everyone else and that the guilt of sin is diffused over all of humanity. When evil is the topic, they like nothing better than to hide behind a shield of nameless obscurity and to melt into the crowd, and individuals find a relieving consolation in learning that they are no worse than anyone else.
On the other hand, men are very much more convicted of their sin when they are singled out and the spotlight is put upon them — and convicted of their sin is what they must be. You cannot make any headway in converting a man until he is confronted with the fact that he himself is evil, because nothing about Christianity can be seen as needful to him until he understands this truth about himself.
So when I am asked what Christianity is all about, the first thing I say is: “It’s about facing up to your own evil and dealing with it.”