When the filmmakers for Soul Surfer began working on adapting the book to the screen they approached Bethany Hamilton, the girl who lost her arm to a shark bite, to see if there were any conflicts that were left out of the book. They were finding that though it was a great story, it was not translating well to a screenplay because of the absence of conflict. The book was marketed to the Christian realm, and as such, it didn’t make mention of their struggles (apart from the obvious, a missing arm). And, as it turns out, there was some.
I think this is a very common tendency for Christians – to hide our struggles and our conflicts. To make everything seem okay. Not only have I done this, I do this, as in I still do. For some reason we, unconsciously I suspect, try to portray the Christian life as simply a blessed one, where everything goes along swimmingly and with as little trouble as possible save a flat tire.
Please know I’m not criticizing Bethany Hamilton’s family for making their lives look conflict free. To me, it’s a strong temptation among believers to portray our lives as great, as though nothing is wrong.
Your probably tired of me asking questions, it seems like all I do. Nonetheless I’m curious why this seems a near-universal temptation for Christians. Is it because we think it makes God look bad if we have conflict and things going wrong? Is it because we are afraid that if we will look weak if we admit that not everything is going well? Could it be we’re afraid we’ll look like we’re failing Christians because not everything is perfect?
Obviously, the problem-free life is a lie. If anything, I believe following Jesus ensures that you can expect trials and even pain. As those in the recovery movement know, healing from pain doesn’t mean the pain is over. And servitude will never be easy. It will always be a fight. So we can drop the whole “yeah, everything is great!” line. If anything, it’ll give Christians more credibility – because those whom we answer won’t hear the hesitation in our voice, but the strain and the heartache and even the joy in a real life – one lived in the wide variety of emotions that aren’t always fine.
Do you fall into the trap? Why is it so tempting to make everything okay? What damage does it do?