Saved. Born again. Got religion. Saw the light. People use many different words and phrases for the process of adopting faith. In some traditions, faith is just considered part of family or ethnicity, so some people identify with a religious culture without really adopting it. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about that moment when we decide to follow a spiritual path—we need a change in our lives.
However, in order to even consider being “saved” we must first agree that we even need saving. The current cultural climate could perhaps be summed up by Lady Gaga’s lyric, “I’m on the right track baby. I was born this way.” We are encouraged to celebrate who and what we are, and to condemn those who would try to squeeze us into a mold.
While celebrating diversity is a laudable goal, we must be honest with ourselves. Some of the wide variety of people on our planet really shouldn’t be left as we are; we obviously need help. An elder in a church I once attended put it this way: “God loves you too much to leave you the way you are.” Evidence of our flawed human condition is everywhere; we spend billions of dollars every year on self-help books, counselling, and psychiatric medicines. If we were all on the right track, we wouldn’t be seeking out so much advice and assistance.
So are people naturally good, but just need to be allowed to flourish freely? Or are people by nature broken and selfish? When we come to a realization of the latter, we must then decide what to do about it. Where are the answers? I have found that looking to the same flawed human race can leave us disillusioned and disappointed. While we do find help from some good and beautiful people, it never seems to be undiluted by flawed human nature. Advice isn’t always right. Some “helpers” really have a selfish agenda to exploit others for their own gain.
Sooner or later, we may conclude that the ultimate source of the good we see in the world isn’t people. There is a spiritual reality that the deepest part of us wants to connect to. When we discover that the identity of that reality is a personal God that we can know, it can transform our lives. But no one can make that decision for us. This isn’t about emotional manipulation or trickery. It’s a real and rational decision that there is Someone higher than us who made us for more than what we’ve been experiencing up to now.
People of faith are looking for answers to the challenges we all face. So the next time a zealous believer asks you if you want to be “saved,” at least understand why. We want to share the hope that has changed our lives for the better.