Saw one of my students give his testimony in what was one of the most genuine moments I've seen in quite some time. No apologies, no attempts to make things more interesting or exciting, just a very real explanation of where he was at with God. It made me realize that so often in the church we try to engage with where we believe people "should" be and speak from a position that reflects our "best" moments. We rarely bring the junk, the struggles, the frustrations to the table. I know this is not a new revelation, but one that I've been thinking about for the last couple of days. The frustrating aspect of this is that it never creates a deeper understanding of the inroads to a deeper walk with Christ.
To better explain where I'm going with this, because I'm rambling, I know, I'm going to use an analogy from music. Lets say you only ever had two examples of what it meant to be a guitar player, yourself and maybe, um, John Lennon. Now lets say that no one ever explained to you that Lennon took a while to get there, through practice, hard work, and dedication. You might become convinced that its pointless to even try playing guitar as you don't see a possible means of getting to that "Lennon Level." It would be obvious that Lennon is where you should be. What might not be obvious is that you could get there.
Now this is a poor example, for any number of reasons. Not least of which because it fails to take into consideration the fact that some people will never be able to play guitar as well as John Lennon. But, I do think that this illustrating does reveal an interesting trend in the church.
When we fail to bring our garbage to the table it creates the illusion that there are two types of Christians. Those who have it easy, who have it all together, who never mess up, and those who constantly struggle. From that place, those who are very aware of the fact that they struggle often do two things: either give up on the trying or just "fake it to make it" and put forward a front that looks good to their community. That's why it's so important that as a community we are real with where we are actually at. That we are honest when we struggle with different sin areas. That we create space for people to be real about where they are actually at.
I'm not saying we should relish in sin, that we should delight in the fact that we mess up, but I do think sharing a realistic, "warts and all" picture of the walk helps to illuminate the fact that all temptation is common, that our God is a God of redemption who works with even the greatest of sinners. I think it also constantly reminds us that we are all desperately in need of forgiveness because we all sin constantly. I think, in some ways, I'm furthest from God when I think that I'm doing a really good job of following him and I'm closest to God when I realize that I'm horrible at following Him and constantly need Him to transform me from the inside.
That's why I want to be more genuine...