I’m a loser, a sinner, a failure and a fool.
Fortunately for me, I’m also a child of God. Coming face to face with admitting we don’t have to be perfect for God to love us is a challenge. Especially if the love of people in our lives seems so conditional.
Recently, I had the opportunity to be there for someone who needed to discuss the shame and guilt they’ve been burdened by for years. There were things they could barely admit to themselves much less acknowledge them to God or friends and family. As they were able to talk about it, I watched them exhale and relax, their slumped shoulders beginning to regain posture as they went along. It got me thinking about how accustomed we are to letting monsters live in our heads.
Some of those monsters are only skeletons that we’ve thrown in the closet and have yet to let go of. Others, however, are full grown slobbering giants under our beds with gnashing teeth and terrible claws! The important thing is that we don’t ignore the fact that those beasts are around waiting to pounce on us as soon as they find us alone.
I know my monsters by name, and they dance my skeletons around like marionettes. The trouble is that the longer we allow our monsters to hide in the darkness of our souls the stronger they become and the more powerful of a grip they will have on us.
For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. John 3:20
It can be easy to go about our lives pretending to be flawless. How do you usually respond when someone asks, “How are you doing?” Do you answer honestly or are you in the habit of giving a perfunctory answer in order to move on with as little interaction as possible? On the flip side, when you ask someone “How’s it going?” do you care enough to hear an honest answer, or is it simply something you say in passing?
Here at Shawnee St. Paul’s it’s important for us to be available for each other. It’s important for us to realize that amongst our church family it is safe to be real with each other. Romans 3:23 says that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
Yep, that’s right folks! We are a church of messed up people! Let’s not hide it! Those cockroaches that we allow to scurry in the deepest darkest corners of our souls can be exterminated if we expose them to the light of Jesus Christ. This is good news, my friends.
I understand how hard it is to admit that you have problems. No matter how big or small the problem is, pride stands in the way of us being honest with ourselves and others. Setting up an appointment with the pastor or swinging by to visit with the church staff is a great chance to shine a light on your monsters. The ability to speak to someone one on one in confidentiality is a good start to holding yourself accountable to someone. There are many people in this church waiting to love you, not judge you. After all, if we all recognize that plank in our own eye how can we look down on someone with their own hang ups?
I love you all too much to not encourage you to be genuine with each other. In return, I promise to be the same for you. Together, with God’s help, we can be so much more. It’s who we’ve been called to be, for our families and for our community.
Oh, church! Come stand in the light. The glory of our God has defeated the night! Grab those monsters by the toe nails and drag them kicking and screaming to the feet of our Savior. Through him we are more than conquerors!