This year isn't even a month old, but it seems already a lesson from God is taking shape: be real. Just within the last couple of days I've been reminded by it as I read a blog post and moreso the comments about backbiting and another that dealt with God wanting us to be honest. Like Andrea wrote I'm rather private and find it difficult to share my weaknesses and admit where I struggle.
In Wild Goose Chase, Mark devoted a chapter on "the cage of guilt" and shared how confessing our sins is actually a biblical thing to do according to James 5:16. I'm not saying we blatantly share them as if we were proud of our sinful deeds, but when we truly want deliverance from things, why not share this with others? Marks said as a pastor he has heard a number of confessions and they used to surprise him. But now, he said the thing that surprises him more is when people actually confess. My own pastor said he'd much rather sit across the desk from someone who admits he is struggling with pornography or drug addiction than someone who pretends everything is fine in his life while this battle rages privately. As my pastor says, the church is for the sick! It's for those who need help from God and support and love from the people of God. Don't think you have to be all holy and cleaned up before going to church. It's there where we should find help for our struggles.
But all too often the people of church wear masks. We smile. We shake hands and greet our neighbors. We look great dressed in our Sunday clothes, while inwardly we are hurting and crying and struggling with all sorts of things we would never ever want our fellow churchgoers to know. What would they think if they knew my family wasn't perfect?
What a shame.
We are all humans, yes? And last I checked, all humans go through troubling times with either a wayward child, a hurting spouse, an ailing friend or even an addiction-laden self! Why then do we think we have to project perfection?
Do you really think the Bible characters had it all together? Maybe if they had written their own stories they would have edited out the ugly parts. You know that whole adultery-and-murder thing with King David or the running-away-from-God-and-being-swallowed-by-a-great-big-fish experience Jonah went through. I mean, how humiliating is that? And Moses - the wonderful man used greatly by God -- lost the right to enter the Promised Land because he disobeyed God and hit the rock instead of speaking to it. Ugh. I would have written my story differently. Does the world really need to know of my selfishness, my grumbling, my struggles, my unkindness in responding to others?
God didn't sugarcoat the Bible. He showed His people, warts and all. Why then do we pretend with Him? And with others?
Let me add that I don't mean this confessing of "well, that's just the way I am so there" attitude. This is some people's attempt to justify their backbiting and hateful attitudes when they have no desire for God to change them. I've heard people say this before and it was basically their way of saying, "I'll slander and be unkind in how I respond to you because that's just the way I am so deal with it." Eh, that's not a Christlike attitude. For sure those may be natural responses (Hello, I have those, too!), but like Jesus they are not.
And if our goal is to be like Jesus, we need to quit justifying "that's just the way we are," and seek His help in responding in a different way.
Boy was this a rambling post . . .
Do you find it easy to confess your faults and weaknesses to others or do you tend to sugarcoat yourself (and you family) so others see a well-put-together you? Why do you think people are scared to be real and share with others within the church? What are your thoughts about this thing being between me and God so why would I share it with anyone else? Have you ever found confessing something to be freeing? Do you think one result of keeping things quiet is making others believe they are the only ones going through this same thing? Any other thoughts or questions on this topic?