Previously, I mentioned that I was going to write a few posts about how we can have a greater impact on the communities where we live and worship. This week it is about being authentic, with ourselves and with others. The world needs to see the church as a place of broken, hurting, sin-prone people rather holy, (self)righteous, saints living as if we are above the world.
So how do we do that?
I think that we need to admit to ourselves that we are just as sinful and maybe even more-so since we became Christians. Every Sunday we apply our Cover-god makeup and come to church “acting” as if we have it all together. We hug, shake hands and kiss babies as if we are running for public office. We look perfect, our music is perfect, our messages are perfect, yet within the hearts of many church attenders is pain, and sadness, addictions, struggles, and failure that no one ever knows. Our pretending has made grace and mercy impotent.
Why do we pretend?
Mainly, I believe it is because everyone else is pretending too. We have books, bible studies, sermons, and Christian radio/television telling us that if we are Christian we will grow and have victory and experience freedom and when we don’t or we struggle we feel we are failures as believers. We are also too well aware of the “super Christians” that sit in the pews around us ready to judge the backslider. So it is better to hide the real you.
Yet Jesus’ grace and mercy are for the “real you”.
What if you and I were just honest? What if people knew the real you/me and loved us unconditionally anyway. Offering to pray for, listen to, hug, defend and stand with you/me in the struggles. And what if they were honest with us.
Our congregations would be radically changed. People on the outside of our churches would see love like they have never experienced.
One of the tragedies in the church today is when a leader falls into sin. Rather than seeking to embrace them, love them, forgive them and then restore them to the position they once had, we condemn them and remove them from the church. This to me is a great injustice as it perverts the unconditional love God show to us… every moment of every day.
The world rejects their fallen leaders. the church should restore theirs.
The world rejects the marginalized, the weak, the “sinner”, the church should embrace them, for we are all together the same.