I grew up in a semi-small town in a super small church. Though my church was conservative they did a great job at loving on the taboo. Once I moved it was really hard for me to find a church that stuck to its guns when it came to being Biblically sound but also committed to loving people like Jesus. Too often today churches choose one of two radically different approaches. Either they choose to be affirming of sin (rather than accepting but correcting) or they choose to be condemning (rather than loving and realizing we ALL have fallen short). We have created a culture where "Christians" show up at Sunday service waving their flag of sin daring anyone to say they're wrong. Or where they hide in the dark what they are struggling with so they don't become an outcast.
Last night one of my students shared his testimony of how, as a sophomore in high school, he'd been struggling with addiction for over a year. He's already had his "come to Jesus" moment where he realized he didn't want to keep doing what he was doing and where he got some strong godly men as accountability. But he admitted that sometimes he still falls. All I could think was "Thank God, somebody finally got real"!
We've been meeting for weeks and all I've heard were stories of good Christian kids who grew up in good Christian homes and always loved Jesus…sorry but I'm calling it as I see it they're all full of crap. Even if they're not struggling with things like sex, or drinking, or drugs they've all had times when they didn't feel like God was good. How compelling is it to tell people about a God who only loves "perfect people"? It's not compelling at all and it's totally not true. But as a church we haven't created a culture where people feel they can share without being judged. So either they put on the "everything is fine" face or the "I don’t care what you think of me" face. Both are masks worn by hurting people. And they're hurting because not enough of us are being honest that we're hurting too.
Each of us has a story and we are called to share it because there's someone that has the same battle as us and they need to know they are not alone. I love this quote I found on Pinterest this morning:
Your story is the key that can unlock someone else’s prison. Share your testimony.