Recently, a guy by the name of Phillip Garrido was found to have allegedly kidnapped, raped, and fathered children with a young girl (Jaycee Duggard). As I read the chilling story in the news, I was absolutely shocked and disgusted.
How could anyone do something so terrible to an innocent child? How could a grown man allegedly kidnap a young girl, hold her captive, rape her, and more for years and years?
But just as I thought the story couldn’t get any worse, it did. I found out that this man was using the “G” word quite a bit. What “G” word is it? God.
This man who was allegedly keeping a kidnapped woman captive in a small shed in his backyard for years, was talking about “God this” and “God that.” As I researched it more, I found that he was even attempting to start some type of ministry! I was horrified.
I found myself in complete and utter shock. Obviously, I don’t know every detail, and only God can truly judge someone, but it struck me as so odd that this man could actually think he was religious and following God, while at the same time allegedly doing some of the worst sins listed in the Bible. Why was that? How can someone attempt to start a religion about God, while doing things God says not to do, or that God even says he abhors? How can one confess Christianity, but bear such unGodly fruit?
I can’t even begin to try and unravel what kind of psychological problems Mr. Garrido might have, but I do know this: He was compartmentalizing his life in an extreme way, and many Christians today do the same (albeit, not as extreme). In fact, a compartmentalizing Christian living in unrepentant sin often gives Christianity a bad name.
What Is Compartmentalization, and Why Should We Guard Ourselves From It?
We all know what a compartment is, right? It is defined as a space in which an area is subdivided. If you can imagine a house diagram, each room is a “compartment” within the entire space of the house.
So bedroom 1 is a compartment (where you sleep), the kitchen is another compartment (where you eat), the bathroom is a compartment, etc.
Humans have a tendency to compartmentalize things in life. They act a certain way at a job, then another way with friends, another way with relatives, and so forth. Their values, attitudes, beliefs, and language may change depending on their environment.
Sometimes it can be natural or even acceptable to compartmentalize your general behavior. You wouldn’t exactly speak about the same topics to your grandparents in the same way you may speak to your spouse.
But sometimes this can be abused, and people can compartmentalize their faith. This is why we hear of preachers who were having homosexual relationships, while preaching from the pulpit against homosexuality. This is why someone can kidnap a girl, and yet think they are doing God’s will.
It is also why you may see someone claiming to be a Christian on a Facebook page, while reading about how much sex they had out of wedlock last weekend.
It is dangerous to compartmentalize your faith, and we should all seek to avoid this behavior.
The problem with some Christians today is they think Christianity or spirituality is something you can take and throw in to a “compartment.” They then compartmentalize their entire life separately from their faith and beliefs. They may have promiscuous sex throughout the week, look at pornography, lie, steal, curse, do drugs, etc. all while saying they are “born again Christians.”
The Bible says NOT to do those things…so if a person really believes in God, why do they still do it? Surely they must realize that God will chastise them, right?
What they are doing is living a compartmentalized spiritual life. They have a compartment of spirituality that rarely gets opened. But then, when it comes Sunday, they walk into the “spiritual” compartment of their lives. They sing hymns, chant about God, listen to a sermon, pray, and then go home.
Afterwards, they leave their safe Christian “compartment” yet again and go back to whatever behavior they were doing before. They think it is okay to sin as long as you show up on Sundays, or profess that you are a Christian. They just make sure to occasionally visit the Christian compartment from time to time. Or perhaps they think that “a scripture a day will keep the devil away.”
Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way folks. Christianity is NEVER to be compartmentalized. If you compartmentalize your faith, you risk failing judgement of God (if you are unsaved), or being severely chastised by God (if you are saved). You risk being guilty of sin on judgment day. Because God surely isn’t going to judge only your “Christian life.” God will judge you based on your ENTIRE life.
The Christian faith isn’t a compartment or room in a house to be kept secret or hid away. It is the foundation on which the house should sit. It is the foundation by which you build your entire life, and every compartment must sit on your faith.
That means you let your faith bleed through every single area of your life. You should be a Christian at work, with friends and enemies, with your spouse, on your Myspace or Twitter, behind closed doors, and every living and breathing second of your life.
You should live for God, breathe for God, sing for God, read about God, pray to God, fear God, strive to be Godly, and yes, even Tweet about God. How hypocritical is it to talk about a sinner in one breath, while sinning yourself in the next? How hypocritical is it to claim you are a Christian, while in the next paragraph bragging about a recent sin?
That’s not to say that we can totally avoid sin in our lives. We are still in the flesh. We still sin. But when a Christian sins, he or she should act quickly to repent and confess that sin, and be cleansed of it. While Christians do sin, no Christian should live in habitual sin.
Be Brutally Honest, and Judge Yourself
We can avoid creating a Christian compartment in our minds if we are brutally honest when we judge ourselves. I mean even more brutally honest than Simon Cowell from American Idol. We must be brutally honest, and not make excuses for our shortcomings or sins. In addition, we must strive to allow our faith to regulate all areas of our lives.
We cannot be Christians some or even most of the time. We are called to follow Christ 100% of the time.
The Bible speaks about judging ourselves:
For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
-1 Corinthians 11:31
So how do we judge ourselves? We read the Bible, and let God’s laws into our minds. Adrian Rogers used to say a quote I loved, “I read other books, the Bible reads me.”
By using God’s word, we can judge ourselves based on the standards He gave us.
For example, the Bible says we shouldn’t lie. Therefore, we should be brutally honest and ask, “Have I told a lie recently? Am I a liar? Was I dishonest about something?
If we did lie, then we have an obligation to repent, and turn away from that behavior in the future. We should constantly be judging our own actions to ensure they line up with scriptures. When they go against God’s will, we must confess that and be cleansed.
Christianity is not a one time contract you sign and then you are done. I only wish it were that easy. It is a daily struggle. Every day we are confronted with new situations, new temptations, and new frustrations. And every day we must do our very best to follow God’s will for each situation.
This, in my opinion, is the hardest part of Christianity. Anyone can label themselves as a Christian. That is the easy part. But struggling against sin daily is so very hard. We have all fallen short of the glory of God (me included), and we must all judge ourselves and reveal our shortcomings and sins. We all have an obligation to work out our salvation (not work FOR your salvation).
This is so hard to do. When I find that I have sinned, I feel terrible. I feel angry (at myself), I feel like I have failed God. I certainly know that feeling of realizing and admitting to a sin. It’s hard, and the flesh likes to resist admitting fault. Nevertheless, it is something we must do. I would much rather judge myself and have a chance to repent, than to be judged by God (or be chastised by God as a child).
We must judge ourselves regularly, fully, and truthfully. We cannot afford to have our faith placed in a nice box in our minds, only to be opened when we want to feel warm and fuzzy. We must let our faith rule our lives.
If we place our spiritual life in a “faith” compartment in our minds, isolated away from other behavior or activity, then it automatically means we have other compartments which are not bound by that faith. Those other compartments are free to sin unrestrained.
Instead, we must build all compartments on our faith, so that our faith is exposed in all areas of our lives. God laid the foundations of the universe by His words, and we should build our lives on the foundation of God’s words. Every thought or action should be governed by our faith. We should always walk in the light of God. For if we walk in the light, then we can have confidence in the promise of our Lord.