Is Church a place where we can be honest with our failures? Could it be that Christian leaders are so desperate for fruit that they are willing to settle for plastic fruit? Could it be that while rightly desiring growth in their congregation we also unknowingly devalue transparency and honesty?
A co-worker of mine was reading to her grandson about the life of Jesus. Half way through her lesson the grandson stops her and says, “Grandma, I don’t really care about Jesus.” Wow! How dare he say that! It would be quite easy to simply respond with, “Hey, you shouldn’t say that!” But if she had responded so, would she be teaching him to be real with her? or would she simply be teaching him to say the ‘right things?’ I think we can celebrate the grandson’s statement. We do not celebrate where he is at spiritually, but we can celebrate that we know where he is at spiritually.
We must value transparency equally with growth.
“You want to mess up the minds of your children? Here’s how- guaranteed! Rear them in a legalistic, tight context of external religion, where performance is more important than reality.”
Most of my life I never opened up at church and dealt with my baggage, instead church was where I tried to look really good and hide my baggage. I think I did so because I was afraid of being shamed for my sin. Does church culture foster honesty and reality or conformity and ‘looking good?’
In many ways we have become so desperate for results that we would almost prefer ignorance. What I mean is that Christian leaders and parents want people to live good lives so badly that they are not willing to dig deep into other’s lives just incase their biggest fears are brought life: that perhaps the people aren’t all as good as they want them to be. Growth is messy, painful and takes a lifetime, eternity. God never settles for outward conformity with us and the Bible never fudges the details so that it’s character look better. God is willing to bring up the pain, the sin, and the hurts so that we may be truly healed, and we must be willing to do the same.
When my friends come to me and discuss their deepest hurts and sins, I will celebrate, not because of where they are at spiritually, but because they are willing to be open and honest with me so that now I can come along beside of them, love them, and exhort and encourage them in their walk with Jesus. No matter how bad it hurts me, I must be open and honest with where I am at spiritually, even if it means disappointing the leadership over me, because guess what, my desire should be to truly change, not impress.
We should be desperate for growth, but not at the expense of reality.
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