I believe that one of the key aspects that has contributed to making me a stronger Christian over the years has been thinking like a non-Christian. It was listening to atheist podcasts that first spurred me on to test my faith, and to own it. But even more than solidify my personal faith, thinking like a non-Christian has helped me to empathize with those who don't believe as I do. It has helped me to feel compassion rather than judgment. Who can't sympathize with those who feel as though an all loving and all powerful God can't exist because of all the pain and suffering in the world? Who can't sympathize with those who think a story about a talking snake and a "magic apple" are just as crazy as all other religious stories? Who can't sympathize with those who have difficulty acknowledging their own sin - when we judgmental Christians look down on unbelievers, forgetting ours? "But by the grace of God, there go I?"
But beyond building up my assurance, compassion, and (hopefully) humility, thinking like a non-Christian has also helped to convict me of inconsistent thinking. It has often reminded me of powerful truths that I have either forgotten or that I have tossed to the wayside as a result of my unbelief. The biggest conviction for me recently has been in the area of prayer.
work week, a leisurely vacation, or anything else, we think about how long an event will last. Sometimes we dwell on the anticipation of something tedious or painful ending, and at other times, it's anxiety at the thought of something great coming to a close. So just like on the day we became newlyweds – and even more so seven years into our vows – I can't help but think about our love as something fantastic that is drawing to a close - at some undetermined time in the future, at least from my perspective.
For those that know me, however, you understand that under my facade of seriousness I am all jokes. To my credit, I can let some very serious things roll off my back and move on with life. But to my debt, the inability to ever take anything with complete seriousness can end up hurting others. In this instance, I think it's to my credit. While I wanted to explore some very serious ideas in this poem, I also wanted to lighten it up a little and have fun with it. I wanted to show that death doesn't kill life while it is being lived. So even when addressing the ending of our lives, such thoughts don't negate the fullness of those lives and our love.