I believe in, follow, and worship Jesus Christ. “Why?” many people have asked me. “Why?” many people have wondered, but haven’t dared to ask. As this is a question deserving of a response, I took the time to write “why”. There are many reasons, of course, for my belief in Jesus Christ, but I’ll focus on three of the main ones for now.
First – We Exist
While it may not be theologically correct, I have often thought about a Universe of only one. My mind takes me back to a place and time when only God existed, and the thoughts that would go through His mind in deciding whether to create other life. While I don’t profess to have much of an idea of the depth of God’s thoughts, I do imagine that a critical issue would have been forefront in His mind. If other beings were created, what would happen if one injured another?
In a Universe of one, there would be options, of course. Beings could never be given the power to harm another. If there was no power to harm, however, there would be no ability to feel love. God, I’m sure, knew what love really meant, that it was most powerful as a choice made by someone to recognize your inherent value and treat you in a way they didn’t have to. If we were forced to never harm, then we could never experience what it really felt like to have a being choose not to harm us. Agency to choose respect, support, friendship, etc. is absolutely required for us to feel or experience another’s love as love is a voluntary and free-will choice of another being.
Robots can be programmed to never harm us. Robots cannot be programmed to love us though. If a robot were programmed to do something nice, it wouldn’t feel special or nice to us. We would know it was simply acting as directed, and we would continue to hunger for true love, the love that recognizes and values our worth as an individual, the love that motivates a choice inside an individual to act in a way that shows our worth. Banning the ability to harm would simultaneously be a ban on the ability to love as it would remove the free-will possibility of another being to decide against harm and for recognition of our true value.
Therefore, I imagine, this option was ruled out. The power to harm had to exist in order for the power to love to also exist, as love could only exist in an environment where beings were not programmed but made their own decisions. What, then, would the remedy be for beings harmed by other beings?
After going through all of the options, I’m convinced that God saw something else that love required – it required justice and mercy, consequences and second chances. If I truly love my child, I will teach my child about the realities of life, about work, about effort, about consequences when they steal, lie, or hurt another. However, I will also give them another chance when they make a mistake.
On the other hand, if somebody killed my child I would demand that the person be locked up. I would suffer a lot by the person’s choice to kill, but would start to receive some relief through the person receiving a just consequence for their decision to kill. Justice is essential to our healing process, as individuals harmed by the choices or actions of others, especially when the wounds go exceptionally deep, cannot receive full healing without knowing that the perpetrator is being taken care of appropriately. If an individual were to steal, for example, and then continue to steal over and over again, each person that had items stolen would only begin to feel at peace if the individual were apprehended and just consequences dealt. If the individual received no consequences ever, hurt from the act would continue as well. If there were no consequences for our decision to harm others, there would be no healing from the harm as just consequences are a critical part of the healing equation.
However, we all make mistakes. We all hurt others in some fashion, yet we all need another chance, a chance to improve, to try again, to change. Mercy begs that the consequences be withheld based on a hope of who we can be, instead of who we have been. Mercy’s demands operate to plead for the individual, while justice’s demands are essential to maintaining a system that all can exist within. Neither the system can overpower the individual, nor the individual the system, but both need a way to function together.
With all of this, and much more, in His mind, God could certainly see the need for a Savior, an individual possessed with the power to satisfy both the demands of justice and mercy. The perfect reconciliation of justice and mercy exists in Jesus Christ, our Savior. He reconciled these competing and conflicting demands through a love so deep that it transcends us all. He atoned for us, making it possible to repent and change of our wrongdoings, and be healed from the wrongdoings of others.
I can see no way that the Universe or individuals could exist if it weren’t for the competing demands of justice and mercy, and a way to reconcile them. Many people often criticize Jesus and His Gospel for having conflicting things in it. Of course there is conflict though. Justice and mercy have always conflicted, with entirely opposing demands. When we view things from our perspective, we may see conflict. However, from God’s perspective, He sees love, the perfect way to overcome and reconcile all conflict and opposition. When we are stuck seeing conflict, it simply means we need to lift our sights higher and see things from a different perspective. Good can have competing demands and still be good, so long as it is reconciled through the love of Christ.
There is much more to discuss on love, conflict, justice, and mercy. However, for me, the fact that love exists, that harm exists, and that we exist are proof of the necessity for a Savior. For us to exist with our differences, some Being would have to be the Great Reconciliator, and that Being is Jesus Christ, who I wholeheartedly believe in, follow, and worship due to the depth of His love for me.
People will always criticize God for conflict, suffering, and other bad things existing. However, when they do, they are criticizing Him for creating them. Why does conflict, suffering, and bad really exist? Because we exist. Because we have the ability to make choices. If we were to exist as independent beings, unique from all other beings in existence, then we had to be different in some way, shape, or form. Our differences naturally bring conflict to existence, but they also bring life, as it is through our differences that we can have an identity separate from anyone else.
In other words, Jesus Christ atoned for us so that we could live, so that we could be different, so that we could exist and experience the overwhelming feeling when someone voluntarily recognizes and values our eternal worth as an eternal being. To me, there is no way for all of us to exist with all of our differences if the conflicts we create and the principles that operate were not reconciled by the Being who created us. To me, every person I see, meet, or interact with helps me see that Jesus Christ also exists, as we would be powerless to exist without His Reconciliation for us.
Second – Jesus is the Only Name Whereby Salvation is Provided
When I look at myself, those around me, those I once knew, and those who make the news, I see something familiar – we’re all struggling to make a go of it in this life. Many of us, if not all, make some serious mistakes. We have imperfect bodies subject to sickness, injury, and death. We have imperfect hearts, minds, emotions, and feelings. In other words, I can readily see the “fallen” side of mankind.
Yet, I also see something in stark contrast to our fallen side. I see beauty, I see goodness, and I see potential in every person I meet. We are all beings with potential to do good or evil, and we all have a piece of goodness and darkness inside of us.
Jesus Christ is the only name under Heaven that offers a way to overcome our dark parts and fully embrace our good parts. He is the only name under Heaven that offers a way to be resurrected from the dead. In other words, He is the only name under Heaven that offers salvation from our present condition.
The claims made by Jesus Christ are exceptional. He says He can help us repent, change, be made new, and rise from the dead. Other religions and other gods worshipped on this earth do not offer what He offers. I can come back as a bug, I can reach Nirvana, or I can live this life and then become extinct. Jesus Christ is the only means to obtain salvation, to obtain a life eternal. He provides this opportunity to us all, asking, of course, that we also walk the competing line between justice and mercy, between employing our own effort and relying on Him for help.
I believe in, follow, and worship Jesus Christ because He has provided a way for us to continue to live, a way to be free from our mistakes, and a way to rise from the dead to be with those we love again. There is no other way or path to achieve these things.
Third – I Want What He Offers
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As a member of Jesus Christ’s church, I am taught of the promises He has made to all of us. He has promised to give us all that He hath, and allow us to be partakers of all that He enjoys. He offers family, love, power, creation, and an eternal place of value, worlds without end.
I have a deep desire to find the true meaning to life. God knows what the true meaning of life is – it is you. He knows that life comes through others, that it is not good for a being to be alone, or to die forever. He knows that all happiness comes through recognizing and celebrating the beauty and value of those around us, and by sharing the things we have.
Jesus Christ has offered to share everything He has with me, and with you. I’ll be honest – I want what he offers. I want something better than the darkness of this world, than the hate, envy, and violence so readily here. I want something more than death. I want purpose, I want a place, and I want to live long beyond the bookends of my short passage on this earth.
Jesus Christ offers all of that to me. He teaches me how to live to appreciate others, to serve them, and to walk in their shoes. He teaches me how to be part of a family, how to be a friend, and how to forgive others so that I too can be forgiven. He tells me when I do something wrong, and He gives me another chance to try again. He wants me to become someone capable of experiencing everything He can experience, and so He allows me to try, mess up, and try again. He allows me to suffer so that I can experience love, and He allows me to live, despite the tremendous cost my life, choices, and actions required of Him.
I believe in, follow, and worship Jesus Christ because He is willing to share everything He has with me. I want the good that is there, I want the life, and I want all that He offers. This world simply offers nothing even remotely comparable to what He offers.
There are many reasons I believe in Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ provides a way for me to come to know Him, to know of his truths, to know of the reality of His existence. The way He provides is a way of change. I can only come to know Him if I’m willing to change myself and who I am. When I’m not willing to change who I am, I stop myself from knowing and experiencing what He has to offer. When I’m willing to change and let go of myself and my wants, I come to know Him and His ways.
I know Jesus Christ lives. He loves us immeasurably. He wants the best for us, and to get us there He will give us everything we need to experience, good and bad, to help us get past ourselves and recognize that the true meaning of life is those around us. As the only way to satisfy the competing demands of the existence of multiple beings is through a Savior, Jesus Christ, our Creator, atoned and died for us to give us the means to overcome conflict and opposition, to become like Him.
I invite you to seriously consider your deepest desires. Is it really to have fun for a few years on this earth and then die? Is it really to do everything you want to do? Or is it deeper than that? Do you have any desire to live in a better state? Do you have any desire to have an eternal place where you are valued and loved? Do you have any desire to escape your past and embrace a future of limitless potential?
Jesus Christ is the way. I invite you to seriously consider what He offers, and seriously consider if there is any other way to achieve it. He is the only way to eternal life, eternal love, and eternal fulfillment. Of this I willingly testify and share with you.
We can all come to know Him. Read His words. Change yourself. Seek His Spirit. Exercise faith. Draw near unto Him, and He will draw near unto you. Seek Him diligently and ye shall find Him. If you’re not finding Him, change yourself to more fully draw near to Him. He teaches us through living prophets of the many areas of our lives that need change and improvement to find Him.
Eternal riches require some work or effort on our part. We cannot simply expect a handout with no serious input from ourselves from the Being that transcended all known evil and opposition to be able to enjoy the depth of what this Universe offers. God worked for His life and for our lives, and we must do the same to begin to touch the depths of what He has to offer.
His path may require sacrifice, it may require faith, it may require letting go of our deepest doubts and fears, of letting go of our laziness, but it brings us to Him, to the Author and Finisher of our salvation, to the place of greatest meaning.
Please join me on the path to Him and what He offers us, and believe in, follow, and worship Him with me. It is the path to the riches of eternity.