Before we go any farther in our search, I need to make the offer of Christianity clear: There is a way to be good again. The hope of Christianity is that we get to live life like Jesus. That beautiful goodness can be ours. He can heal what has gone wrong deep inside each of us. The way he does this is to give us his goodness; impart it to us, almost like a blood transfusion or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. We get to live his life—that is, live each day by the power of his life within us. That’s the hope: you get to live that life. “But there is a reality of being in which all things are easy and plain,” wrote George MacDonald, “oneness, that is, with the Lord of life.” He makes us whole by making us holy. He makes us holy by making us whole.
Think of how you feel when you commit some offense—yell at your kids, lie to someone or hide the full truth, harbor resentment or bitterness toward a friend, indulge sexual or romantic fantasies over someone at work or their spouse; maybe you’ve been acting on those fantasies for three years now and it is tearing you apart. Whatever your regrets may be, think of how you feel when you commit these acts repeatedly, when you vow never to do it again and find yourself doing it moments later. And think of what an utter relief it would be to be free from the whole entangled nightmare. I mean to be so free that you’re not even disciplining yourself not to do these things anymore; you just don’t do them. You simply don’t struggle with whatever it is that haunts you; it’s not an issue.
That’s the utter relief of holiness. That’s what happens when the life of Jesus invades your life.