Monday, July 16, 2012

Measuring Spirituality

It worries me that so many people assume that the people who provide the most platitudes are the most spiritual. How often have we seen people going through a tough time and someone tells them, “God will see you through.” Or we ask someone how they are doing and they say something like, “God’s been good to me.” We walk away thinking, “That person is unashamed of his faith.”

Until recently, I hadn’t given it much thought. These people used phrases that I normally don’t, but if they’re comfortable with it, what’s wrong with it? Then in Sunday School I heard someone talking about people some of these people being much more spiritual than most of us. “I don’t think I could ever reach that level of spirituality.” And I began to realize that people are measuring spirituality by personality rather than faith.

While it is true that “God will see you through” and “God’s been good to me,” the words are weak if they don’t have specific meaning behind them. In reading the Bible, we find that God seeing us through a situation may mean that we suffer until death, but heaven is a much better place. If you’re speaking to a mother who has lost a child, that probably isn’t what she wants to hear. Though she make take comfort in knowing she’ll see that child in heaven, it isn’t very comforting to know she might have to wait sixty years before she sees him again. Is she somehow less spiritual because she doesn’t feel like saying, “God’s been good to me?”

I don’t think we’re to be in the business of measuring spirituality, but I believe the true measure of spirituality is one’s faith. While platitudes give the appearance of communicating one’s faith, true faith can only be measured by action. A person can tell you all day that he believes a chair will hold his weight, but only the person who sits in the chair demonstrates faith. A person can make spiritual platitudes all day, but actions reveal the truth of what a person believes. I see people who would never deliver a spiritual platitude, but their actions reveal far more faith than some of those who do.