I have a friend at church. I've always liked her, she's been nice to me. One time I "confessed" one of my struggles, one of my imperfections to her and she just shrugged it off. She's never even brought it up again. It simply doesn't matter to her. I wouldn't call this particular "confession" a huge deal accept that I've been on the wrong end of harsh judgement on it more than once. Another time I actually SWORE in front of her. She didn't even blink. I about dropped dead from embarassment, but she just handled it with grace. When I whine about my current neck injury she never says "Well if you just had faith..." Nope. She pretty much nods her head and says yeah, you know what? That does suck. She's a friend, she loves me right where I'm at with all my quirks and imperfections and *gasp* struggles with sin. Huh. Just imagine that, a human being who CLAIMS TO BE A CHRISTIAN struggles with sin??? Well kids, I'm just trying to be real here.
My sin is no worse and no better than yours. It's all rebellion in the eyes of God. Some of the stuff we judge each other on isn't even SIN. It's just the same old middle school bullies all grown up still screaming "You're ugly. You're not as good as me. You're dumb. I'm cooler than you." Except now we're a little more covert about it. Now we gossip in the name of God. We wound each other on Facebook and we tweet a bunch of cryptic crap with full knowledge that we will get asked what we mean, then we get to play self-righteous martyr and respond with "I don't want to mention names..." or "I'm going to be the bigger person and just drop it..." We put this stuff out there knowing all the other malicious back-biters and gossips won't be able to resist asking for more info and giving us all that yummy attention we crave, knowing that the target of our poisioned barbs will see our hateful words and know with out a doubt they are under attack and defenseless because if they DARE to defend themselves they will also have outed themselves to the hundreds of faceless judges reading our filthy hateful garbage.
I have very few "friends" at church. I'll admit, I'm afraid of you my "sisters". I do have a few treasured souls I call friend. They are beautiful. They are flawed. They *gasp* struggle with sin, and emotional issues, and life. But they love. They love because they have not forgotten what Jesus forgave in them. They love because they remember the love God showed them in their darkest hour. They are kind. They are authentic. They are merciful.
My friend from the first part of this post was recently a victim of the catty christians and the born-again bullies that the unsaved world often credits with their distaste and distance from all things church and all things God. It breaks my heart. I think it breaks God's heart too.
Yep. I'm afraid to let you see the real me. I'm afraid to share my scars with you. I will never invite you to my home because I don't think it will meet your standards. Shoot, it doesn't even meet mine. I will never come to your "home party" because I can't afford to buy what they're selling. I will never tell you about my pain or my shame or my struggles because you will tell others. Or post it on Facebook. Or tweet it.
My mother always used to say "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." I wish everybody would heed the words of my mom. There would certainly be less broken hearts in the church and more butts in the pews if we just did that much.