Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 48 – Why are there such great differences between individual Christians?
There is a kind of basic belief that all Christians have in common. This goes back to the Bible*, to ancient texts such as the creed* and to the practices of the first generations of Christians. At the same time, there are big differences in the way people experience their faith day in and day out. This also applies to Christians of the same Church*. These differences can be so great that one sometimes wonders if these people believe the same thing.
The reason is simple. There is no computer program for Christian faith that guarantees an identical religious experience for everyone after uploading. The Christian faith is not a set of rules and regulations that you have to follow exactly. The core of the Christian faith is the personal relationship between a person and God*, especially with Jesus*.
A relationship lives and develops. Because every believer is different, every personal relationship with God and Jesus also has its own emphases. These have a lot to do with one’s personality and life story. For some, the experience of the goodness of God is in the foreground. Another person will find inspiration in the humility and simplicity of Jesus. For yet another, Jesus’ commitment to a better world will be particularly important. These personal points of attention can evolve by what a person experiences or simply by age.
This diversity is not a problem. It is a richness. The Christian faith is so infinitely broad and deep that you cannot welcome everything in your soul at the same time, even if you might want to. It is all the believers together, the community of the Church, who have the fullness of faith.
– Are there things in your life that you would describe as typically Christian?
– What do you think is important in your faith and how does it develop?
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 49 – Is being a Christian above all a matter of doing your best?
Follow these links to go back to previous questions
If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.