Tullian Tchividjian is no stranger to controversy. As a prominent pastor and the grandson of Billy Graham, he has taken Christians to task for their legalism, indicted them for their political partisanship, and had a public tiff with The Gospel Coalition, a web community for Calvinist Christians. As 2015 dawns, he is picking a new fight–with New Year’s resolutions.
Here, we discuss why he thinks they can be spiritually damaging, why it matters, and how these ideas relate to his newest book, It is Finished: 365 Days of Good News.
RNS: Why do so many people make New Year’s Resolutions when they all fail anyway – what do you think is driving this?
TT: It’s not so much New Year’s resolutions themselves but what lies underneath the seemingly innocuous act of making them that needs to be re-evaluated. Down deep, every one of us longs to be loved, accepted, appreciated, respected, and so on. We want our lives to count. And we conclude that if we’re going to experience these things, we have to make it happen by doing more, trying harder, losing weight, behaving better, etc. In other words, underneath our New Year’s resolutions is the drive to save ourselves by generating our own value, significance, meaning, and security by what we do and by who we can become.
RNS: You write that making New Year’s Resolutions puts undue pressure on us. How so?
TT: When it’s up to you to go out and get the love you crave, create your own worth, or work at becoming acceptable to those you want to impress, life gets heavy. New Year’s Resolutions are a burdening attempt to fix ourselves and make ourselves more lovable. But here’s the good news: God loves us as we are, not as we should be.
God’s love for me, approval of me, and commitment to me does not ride on my resolve for God but on God’s resolve for me. God always meets my messes with his mercy, my failures with his forgiveness, and my guilt with his grace. The Gospel of Jesus Christ announces that because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose; because Jesus was strong for you, you’re free to be weak; because Jesus was extraordinary, you’re free to be ordinary; because Jesus succeeded for you, you’re free to fail.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service