Does God just want us to feel good about ourselves? Therapeutic Christianity has become increasingly popular because it emphasizes the part of the Gospel that makes us feel good but ignores the reality of the Cross. Today, Dr. Sri highlights three dangers of therapeutic Christianity which has become increasingly popular in our culture. We learn that we must not shy away from the Cross, for in the Cross we find true freedom.
Don’t be afraid of the Cross just because it’s hard, for in the Cross we find true freedom.
Therapeutic Christianity has become increasingly popular, but is it actually helping us grow in holiness? Therapeutic Christianity tends to focus on only one half of the Gospel message, the part that makes you feel good and ignores the reality of the Cross. It emphasizes God’s love, mercy, and tenderness, but fails to recognize our sin and our need to repent and deny ourselves. It’s comforting because it affirms you that God wants to meet you where you are at, but it doesn’t call you to transformation. Christ crucified and risen is the fullness of Christianity, and being a disciple means sharing in both Christ’s suffering and victory. While therapeutic Christianity may feel good, if it doesn’t challenge us then it will not be fruitful. We need to hear the whole Gospel, not just half of it. We have to be willing to lift high the cross in our hearts, in our minds, in our friendships, in our families, and in our parishes. The mystery of the cross is the self-giving love it asks of us. The saints who changed the world always pointed to the Cross. We have to talk about the Cross, because in the Cross there is true freedom. It’s only when we lose ourselves that we truly find ourselves.
Dangers of Therapeutic Christianity
- God is not just our problem solver
Real Christianity is about the transformation in our hearts, it’s not about God solving all our problems. Our relationship with Christ needs to be centered on our imitation of him. We have to learn to love like him and lay down our lives for others. This means that we have to be willing to bear suffering as we strive for holiness and leave behind sin.
- God doesn’t just wants us to feel good about ourselves
Jesus doesn’t call us to feel good about ourselves, he calls us to love and carry our cross. While God loves unconditionally, he doesn’t want us to remain in sin because sin is a participation in the reign of the devil. God wants to set us free from fear, discouragement, pride, lust, and anger. He wants us to be detached from our disordered desires for attention, control, safety, prestige, power, wealth, comfort, and pleasure. Realizing our sinfulness and letting go of sin doesn’t usually feel good.
- God is not just there to help us pursue our dreams
Do we ever stop to ask God what his dreams for our lives are before we assume that our dreams are perfect. We have to learn to leave our dreams at the foot of the Lord’s throne and let him lead us. We have to be open to God’s will and dreams for our lives, and always present our dreams to him first.
“Lord Jesus, be Lord of me, and let your plans for me come true before my dreams despoil them!”– Fr. Dominic Rover, O.P.
- What do you do when you feel abandoned, discouraged, disappointed, frustrated, or hurt? Do you see these as opportunities to meet Jesus on the cross? Or do you run away?
- Do you blame others when you are upset? Do you believe the problem is always out there? Do you ever reflect on your own sin?
- When you face moments of dryness in prayer do you give up or do you persevere faithfully?
- When you suffer do you complain, do you endure the Cross courageously?
- Is what you read, follow, and listen to, drawing you to the Cross?
- Visit Dr. Sri’s website at www.edwardsri.com and to book online events with Dr. Sri email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Find more of Dr. Sri’s episodes at ascensionpress.com/allthingscatholic
- Ascension is pleased to offer our new and improved online bible study programs and sacramental preparation programs digitally to help you minister with flexibility. Go to ascensionpress.com to view all our offerings.
Meet Your Host: Dr. Edward Sri
Dr. Sri is a theologian and the author of several best-selling books. He holds a doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome. A founding leader of the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Dr. Sri currently serves as its vice president of formation. He appears regularly on EWTN and resides in Colorado with his wife, Elizabeth, and their eight children.
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