rosemarychungphotography asked a question:
Is it possible to be a worse person after attending church for so long? I feel like I was more disciplined and had better character and integrity when I wasn’t a Christian.
Hey dear friend, thank you so much for your honesty and for bringing up something that we all feel, but don’t dare to express.
I think the answer, as unhelpful as it might be, is yes and no. I notice a similar pattern among Christians – most of us experience huge growth spurts in the beginning because it’s all so exciting and new, but then it turns into begrudging obligation and critical self-punishment. It seems to happen in about 99% of the Christians that I know.
The irony perhaps is that the stronger you grow in faith, the more you become aware of your own faults and flaws. Christians are sensitive to their own shortcomings because we actually care, and when we grow in maturity, we stop making excuses and we quit the rationalizations. A sure sign of an immature person is one who cannot take responsibility for their own actions and won’t own up to their part; it was always someone else’s fault or an environmental factor. It could be true, but it doesn’t make us less sinful.
So you’re becoming self-aware, and seeing how bad our sin really is. When we get a glimpse of God’s holiness, we can’t help but feel wretched and naked and low. Even in the presence of better people, of skilled musicians or writers or scholars, we tend to feel like our progress was “dirty rags” (Isaiah 64:6). In the presence of God, this is amplified to an unbearable level. Because of Scripture, we suddenly have a very clear view of our issues – we regard them as sin instead of mistakes, and so we get very hard on ourselves.