USING RELIGION TO BYPASS ONE’S FEELINGS?
“If God hasn’t fixed it, you don’t believe enough”
“You’re depressed because you’re a sinner”
“Just pray about it.”
This is Jesus juking, otherwise known as “spiritual bypassing,” a response or knee-jerk reaction some Christians have to someone asking for help. It’s meant to be helpful but usually comes off as an unwarranted sermon. Not to say that turning to God for help isn’t helpful, it just might not be what the person needs.
A brilliant lady who goes to my church described spiritual bypassing as, “slinging ninja stars.” She said that sometimes people will just throw scripture at you when they’re uncomfortable or confused about a situation.
Spiritual bypassing goes beyond fixing an uncomfortable situation and leads to permanent damage.
Imagine you’re struggling with mental illness and someone tells you that it’s because you’re a sinner and pulls out Bible verses in order to “prove” it. Sadly, this happens a lot.
I asked my friends (Christians and non-Christians) for their opinions on spiritual bypassing. Many people had never heard of it, others had different words for it, but all of them had been exposed to it.
My friend discussed her faith journey and that, “Every single time I would start to grow my faith a little bit, I would be Jesus juked AGAIN and my journey would start back at the beginning.” Monica wanted to be corrected when she was wrong about a belief, or even ignoring God in her time of need, but “there’s a way to share faith with someone without making them feel like an outsider because they aren’t the same as you.”
Many times, we try to offer Jesus up as this magical elixir, but we fall short and turn Him into the poison.
It can be really hard as Christians to slow down and look at the issue without brushing it off and saying Jesus will fix it. He will, and He does, but that doesn’t mean it won’t hurt in the meantime.
Spiritual bypassing will never help a problem. The name itself describes bypassing real conversations and throwing the band-aid of a “greeting card quote” on the problem, then leaving the person suffering, and feeling completely unheard.
“I don’t think spiritual bypassing is a healthy habit to nurture” my friend Ian said. It’s become a “quick fix,” but “healing goes beyond putting a band-aid on an emotion” another friend echoed.
Jesus didn’t do band-aids. In the Gospels, people presented Jesus with problems and He never responded by bypassing them. Instead, He loved.
Love is an action verb. It is something that must be shown and proven. That’s why we as Christians are called to go into and love the world. Both love and going into the world aren’t separate- they’re mirrors. Jesus is the embodiment of verb-love. Jesus went. Jesus verbed.
Jesus never used the kingdom of God or eternal life and blessing as the solution to any problem. He healed, He taught, He loved, and then He told the good news.
My friend said, “when we see Jesus in everything, we see grace and mercy. And when we see grace and mercy, we don’t let our emotions control us, as we lay them at the feet of Jesus.”
Spiritual bypassing is poisonous. It hurts those who are trying to come to Jesus and those already in Jesus. There needs to be a “Jesus balance.” We need to be able to add Jesus into our conversations and allow His promises to help heal others, but we need to not ‘ninja star’ them with the gospel.
Special thanks to Annie, Elaine, Sarah M., Christian, Luke, Elaine, Monica, Libby, and every person I have ever Jesus juked or has Jesus juked me. I love you all.