Have you ever told a lie in church?
A study was done to determine the place the the average American was most likely to tell a lie. The setting that came up the most was the department of motor vehicles. Second place was church followed by Chuck E. Cheese in third.
For those of you wondering about Congress, just like everything else in life, politicians and lawyers were excluded.
I made that survey up, but I am willing to bet every single one of has told a lie in church. I have.
When we show up for church on Sunday morning, we are usually trying to put on a good show. Not unlike celebrities who use make up and plastic surgery to cover their blemishes, the average church goer alters their appearance to look good for those who might be watching.
We put on a smile for everybody as we walk through the door. During the quiet times in the service we bow our heads and pray. During singing and worship we raise our hands. When someone asks how we are doing we say “fine.” The sermon we just heard was one of the best ever and we just can’t wait to get home and discuss it as a family and study the topic further on our own time.
Once we get back into our cars to head home the Superman costume comes off, and we go back to just being ourselves. We prefer to appear beautiful rather than let people know the truth. We have ideas about what a “real” Christian looks like and when we don’t quite match these definitions, we change our image.
We don’t want them to know that we yell at our kids.
We don’t want them to know that we lie to our boss.
We don’t want them to know about our addiction to porn.
We don’t want them to know that sometimes we drink too much in an effort to escape from our problems.
We don’t want them to know that we don’t really love our spouse.
We don’t want them to know that we smoke.
We don’t want them to know that we are depressed.
We don’t want them to know that we actually hate going to church and can’t really stand the people there.
We don’t want them to know that we haven’t read the Bible regularly in years and rarely pray.
Looking back I made it very hard for people to be honest about themselves at church. Either by my words or my attitude toward them I basically told them that Christians don’t do all these bad things. If someone actually opened up about a problem in their life, I would judge and condemn them. Our churches make this problem worse. I personally make it harder for others to be honest.
It was as if I believed that “real” Christians do not sin. But we do.
Jesus said he came not to heal the righteous, but the sick.
So let us be sick. Let us be who we really are. For once.
Let us be bad parents, and liars, and addicts, and alcoholics, and bad spouses in unhappy marriages, and depressed, and church haters, and cold hearted believers.
Not that it is good to be those things. It isn’t. But let us tell Jesus ab0ut it so he can heal us, because we need to be healed.
We need forgiveness.
We need to tell the truth and create an environment where people feel safe to do the same themselves.
Have you ever wished you could be more honest at church? If you felt safe, what would you be willing or feel the need to talk about?
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