I am a man of faith. When I go to church, I expect to read my bible, hear my pastor, and leave church with something useful. The goal is: Get something to improve yourself and others. The hope is: making choices that reflect dynamic faith.
Faith is built on what we hear, positive or negative. If faith is believing for what hasn’t happened, it’s easy to see how we can very easily destroy or make malicious the intention of faith, especially in Christianity.
Jesus even warned that men are spoiled by their speech. (Romans 10:17, Matthew 15:18) King James Version
Because words matter so much, I relied on the “faith” of people closest to me. I let the words of what others had seen convict me—-it overcame my own individual argument that I was better than what I heard.
Subtly over time, I was convinced that I was mentally retarded and that Cerebral Palsy was something shaming, something to be mocked. The theory was “make this guy hopeless”, by convincing him he was not worthy of better than we give him.
Today, I’m still learning how anyone can let their faith be the wall that protects a bias from full exposure. What I mean is: Faith can and does destroy people, from the inside out, in the same way it lifts people up.
I grew up in a Christian home. I know the pluses and minuses of “faith”.
The National Institute of Health says Cerebral Palsy is an incurable balance and posture condition. The CDC concludes that Cerebral Palsy is the most common childhood disability…with 1 in ever 323 kids being diagnosed.
I was almost convinced “by faith” that I didn’t have this thing. The prideful conversation I heard around me was littered with so much destruction, that faith in God was conflated with “protection” and not bravery, with weakness and not meekness.
When I was very little, my mother was the only brave person determined to give me the truth about it. But after age 8, I began life with grandma. Having Cerebral Palsy was almost shelved.
I didn’t understand then, but having Cerebral Palsy suddenly changed meaning.
I went from being faith conditioned to believe I could make it—as a kid… to being told by “faith conditioning” I shouldn’t hope for anything.
No one wanted to talk about it and because of that, I suffered.
So faith comes by hearing. And what you hear has a great effect on who and what you become. Pride was a sickness that I inherited from those around me.
My grandmother was too proud to confront her anxiety and panic issues. l became too proud to acknowledge my disability, and the depression that I had been dealing with on and off for several years. My faith became a confusing thing to define because of the people around me.
In high school. I was good at putting up a wall. I walled off those that couldn’t agree with me. And when I did reach out, I had a history of reaching out to jerks who only told me what I wanted to hear so they could use me.
Before I left high school, I published a poem titled: “You don’t know me”
The poem is actually about facing Cerebral Palsy and fighting to be counted. I talk about how the students “killed my roes”, but I say “I’ll be happy forever”
I was aware in high school how people were lying to me and I was lying to myself.
Liberty is freedom. Faith grants freedom. And what we do with the freedom that faith brings is an individual decision. Just as blacks had billed Obama, the savior of the African-American society. Many Christian Evangelical whites and Republican identified Americans view Donald Trump as the savior of a class of people, who believe that by stretching the liberty of Christian faith that he might “save them”. That’s what happens when “faith” actually destroys people.
I believed long ago with the same faith, that people would save me. They were Christian. They had faith. Why not!
Alas, my faith in their Christian ideas and largely my distorted view of God, almost destroyed me. It is possible for one’s faith in something to destroy that person and all around them.
I still have Cerebral Palsy, but I don’t place my faith in a god that cannot deliver me.
I almost died doing that very thing. Today, I still hear people of faith and others tell me that I should not believe in progress. I should accept limits.
Faith can damage confused, weak, scared, vulnerable people. I didn’t understand that until I began understanding and cultivating health boundaries.
I hope that you never use the “freedom” of faith to destroy yourself or the people around you. Christians do it. I’ve done it… but it doesn’t have to be your story.
Be sure that you understand like I had to… that the blazing fire of faith… can be harmful. We can hope in miserable people, things, circumstances, and examples.