If and when temptations come to turn our backs on Jesus and/or turn to some other religion, philosophy or world view, others have the right and responsibility to ask us, “Are you a person of your word? Are you a promise keeper? You made a sacred oath; are you the kind of person that can be trusted even when the hard times come to be faithful to your covenants?”
When one studies church history and sees what Christians have endured for their faith, even to the point of martyrdom, and what many still endure in our world today, the reasons pampered Westerners give for reneging on their baptismal vows are just plain pathetic in comparison. “The church hurt me.” “God didn’t give me the kind of life I was counting on.” “I just didn’t feel him nearby for the longest time.” “Skeptics gave me arguments that I couldn’t answer.” And so on, ad nauseum. As if no one in other times and places ever had these kinds of experiences before but remained faithful nevertheless.
A strange expression recurs on websites that describe people’s “deconversion” from Christianity, particularly to atheism. Over and over I’ve read that so-and-so “manned up” and faced the facts. For one thing this is astonishingly sexist. Worse still, it’s exactly the opposite of what it really means. People actually “wimped out” when the going got tough. They reneged on their promises instead of showing their true grit. Remind me never to trust such people with anything I couldn’t bear to lose. If they can’t be faithful to the commitment that is the most important one anyone could ever make now or for eternity, why should I trust their word in any less significant context?