Recently I heard a non-Christian call Christianity a crutch for the weak who can’t handle life’s difficulties on their own. At first I had a visceral reaction to the statement (which it was designed to evoke). How dare someone degrade my firmly held beliefs to such a level! But I pondered the idea a little and began to arrive at a different conclusion. Here are some conclusions that I have reached in regard to this statement:
First, a crutch admits weakness, inability, and finitude. The fact that someone needs a crutch indicates that they need external help in order to do some of the simplest tasks in life (viz., standing and walking). At the core of the Christian message, we find that humanity is screwed up. We all need crutches because we’re all lame and damaged due to the rebellion that we joined against God. So when someone says that I use the crutch of Christianity because I am weak, I reply that I am simply being honest enough to admit my weakness. The real question is if my non-Christian friends are willing to admit their inability to stand on their own. This leads me to my next conclusion.
Second, we’re all messed up, so we all use crutches to get through life. Some may call it therapy, medication, or self-help. Others may revert to alcohol, drugs, entertainment, or relationships. Even others may seek out education, family, athleticism, or social activism. Suffice it to say that we all use crutches because we all are weak. Once again, the real difference between the Christian faith and all other crutches is that this faith explicitly states that humanity is unable to better itself and calls for trust and reliance on God. Other crutch-users simply fail to admit what they are relying on.
Third, if we all use crutches to get through life, then the question is not whether we rest on a crutch, but how reliable the crutch is. At this point I have to look at the resurrection. The Christian faith is founded upon this grand idea of the resurrection. That Jesus Christ, fully man and fully God, died in our place so that we may not have to face the punishment for our rebellion against God. The evidence of the success of this great exchange is found in the resurrection that kicked off the movement that we know today as the Church. I know my crutch is reliable because I have undeniable evidence that Someone went to the grave and came back again. Someone has already defeated the greatest enemy of humanity and I can gladly and confidently put my trust in Him.
In the midst of my greatest trials, struggles, and sorrows I don’t have to pretend to be something I’m not. I don’t have to pretend that I can handle the pressures of life on my own. I can admit my own weakness and the infinite strength of the One upon Whom I will lean for the rest of my life.