One of our biggest problems is that we put “band-aids” on our problems, struggles, and issues. Instead of dealing with the root problem in our life, all too often we just deal with the wound and not fix what caused the hurt / problem in the first place. Most people believe a band-aid is all that’s needed to fix the problem. I might like a plain one, but you want a pretty flower band-aid. We each choose the band-aid that we think works best for us. A person we know consistently makes us angry, so our band-aid solution is to now avoid them. We’ve been gossiping a lot lately, so we decide to start hanging out with new people. Conflict is reigning in our marriage and we quickly resort to better communicative methods to patch up the messiness. In these situations, there may be a desire for change, but we all know our typical, unhealthy behaviors will continue to reappear in due time. Change isn’t that easy.
You can see these types of solutions are like New Year’s resolutions. We all say that we going to spend more time with family and friends. We say… I’m going to work out 5 days a week. I’m going to quit smoking. I’m going to begin volunteering. We reach for solutions or resolutions that have no foundation. At times (especially initially), we may have the strength to muster up enough resolve to head to the gym and work out or drive to the local homeless shelter and volunteer. But don’t these types of things wane over time? Don’t the band-aid solutions/resolutions to our lives fade when life gets hectic and complicated?
All around us we have the idea that a band-aid can solve my problem, that it’s not as bad as it really is. Any old band-aid will heal the wound, but it’s not true. The wound is much worse than we believe. The problem much more serious.
What we need so desperately is not a band-aid, but a surgeon. We need someone to remove the problem, the bullet that has caused the wound. We only see the open wound and dress it with a band-aid and wait for it to heal, but there’s something deeper that must be taken care of.
We do this in Christianity with Christian-solutions. I’m going to pray more this year (Then we forget, or life gets busy). I’m going to read my whole Bible this year (we get to Exodus and it’s already June). I’m really going to work on controlling my anger this year ( soon we’re barking at our spouse because she left the milk out again). Stuff like this happens all the time. Our band-aid solutions, whether they be secular or Christian, tend to get swatted down like a Dwight Howard blocked shot. We throw these efforts up in the air thinking they will bring us newfound life and growth, but then disappointment sets in as the efforts come up well-short. Moreover, we’re embarrassed — because often times we only make it a few days (even hours) before these solutions are dashed.
The curious thing about our Christian band-aids is that God doesn’t like them. He doesn’t sit up in heaven and applause when he sees us laboring towards solutions that have no root. It’s not that he doesn’t like structured discipline and resolve, but He simply knows that individual efforts aren’t going to last. He knows that only His grace can cover and transform the struggles, insecurities, and failures that we carry.
Jesus reveals his displeasure towards such band-aid solutions in Matthew 23:25-26:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”
Jesus was not in favor of those who covered themselves beautifully on the outside while their hearts remained a mess. He sees right through that. And our band-aid solutions to life typically decorate us on the outside in ways that only feebly change us on the inside, if they even change us at all.
True change begins in the heart and not through altering behavior or changing circumstances. Changing behavior or relying on new solutions may help for a period of time, but they don’t dig roots. God changes us not just by teaching us to do different things, but by recapturing our hearts to serve Him alone.
Lasting change starts and ends with the redeeming work of Jesus Christ. His death and resurrection opened up the door for true change. Faith in Him creates the avenue for His lasting work to happen. Otherwise, we will just buffer along searching for fixes that only end up falling off like a band-aid at a water park.
I’ve never been a big New Year’s resolution setter. In fact, I can’t recall any resolution that I have ever was successful in keeping. But I do know that I’ve often settled for band-aid Christianity, where I try to get near God by fulfilling the good, Christian-flavored duties. I’ve believed that doing these things and developing a commendable spiritual performance is what God wants. In that, resting in His grace becomes more of an afterthought.
I’m now realizing more and more that God is looking at me. My desperate attempts to keep putting on band-aids don’t last, and I need His grace to bring about legitimate change. God’s grace is what truly enables us to redeem our lifestyles in renewed ways. It covers fully, not temporarily. It cleanses entirely, rather than just stopping the chaos. And it instills life and a new identity, which our hearts need.
We are in a world that tries to dress bullet holes with band-aids. It’s not enough. We have a deeper problem. It’s the bullet that has cut into each one of us, it’s called sin. No band-aid will remedy that problem. It is only when we trust completely in Jesus Christ that we can find the source of healing our problems. Jesus wants to remove all of our band-aids and He wants to be our source for true healing.