“I Would Rather Laugh With the Sinners Than Cry With the Saints”

I think this short little saying accurately portrays the secular attitude when it comes to the internal life of today’s [youthful] generation. Where David said “I cry out day and night before You,” (Psalm 88:2) they would much rather retract the tears and indulge in the aesthetic life; the life of sensuality and maximized desires. Of course, it is not easy in these times of immediate communication, hyper-visualization and vast indulgence that we can turn an eye or an ear away from those things that pose a threat to Christian holiness and sanctity. Indeed, many of those who call themselves children of God have washed their hands and feet with the fountain of this world.

Søren Kierkegaard called it “making a fool of God.” As he so honestly wrote: “I would rather make a fool of God bluntly, climb up to a high place or go out into the open where I am alone with Him, and say, ‘Thou art a wretched God, worth no more than to be made a fool of’ – rather than make a fool of Him by solemnly representing that I am holy, that my life is shear zeal and ardor for Christianity. . .” [1] We should want honesty. Not for the sake of some Christian duty, but because we want honesty. Although there may be millions upon millions of Christian who confess the name of Jesus, there is a man who says, “I dare not call myself a Christian, but I want honesty, and I will venture unto the end” [2].

This pursuit of honesty acknowledges that it would be far better to steal, murder, gamble, lie and cheat than to participate in this mocking of God. Moreover, it is to suppose that this counterfeit Christianity is far and distant from the Christianity of the New Testament, and that the Christian requirement (Matt. 11:25, “come to me”) is to be regarded as fundamental and primary in our human situation. We should not preform artful tricks or masqueraded presentations that pretend our business of “worldly indulgence” is intermixed with this Christianity of the New Testament – indeed, we should rather take money than the next thing! “to gloss over the Christian requirement, so that by suppression or by falsification we may bring about an appearance of decorum which is in the very highest degree demoralizing and is a sly death-blow to Christianity” [3].

For a subject of this manner I would really recommend a meditated reading of Psalm 88 and 89, where the Psalmist displays his anguish before God and yet acknowledges His goodness. Where he cries:

For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol. I am counted among those who go down to the pit; I am a man who has no strength, like one set loose among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, like those whom you remember no more, for they are cut off from your hand. (Psalm 88:3-5)

He still praises:

Let the heavens praise your wonders, O Lord, your faithfulness in the assembly of the holy ones! For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him? (Psalm 89:5-7)

________________

Notes:

  • [1] Søren Kierkegaard, Attack Upon Christendom, trans. Walter Lowrie (Princeton University Press: 1968), p. 20.
  • [2] Ibid., p. 40.
  • [3] Ibid., p. 39.

 

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