I would love to present myself as a close-to-perfect person with a close-to-perfect family. I know I can’t present myself, or my family, as completely perfect, because there was only one perfect person who ever lived. However, I can try to make you think that we’re close to perfect. Think about our Facebook pages and our blogs. We can make our lives look ideal, despite struggling through great difficulties (or just through the day-to-day challenges).
I’m not going to chronicle all of the adversity in my life, but I want to be clear when I say that I’m far from perfect and so is my family. I realize that you probably already know that, especially if you know us personally. Even if you don’t know us, you know we’re not close to perfect, because you and your family aren’t either.
Why, though, is it so difficult for us to admit this? Why do we put on masks for each other, pretending that everything is fabulous and that our families have it all together, even when we’re really struggling? (Isn’t this hypocrisy?)
We argue with our spouses and children in the car on the way to church, then step out with our Sunday smiles and tell everyone we’re fine. If our kids won’t behave or we have marital strife, we keep it all to ourselves, giving the impression that things are great in our homes. Why?
For many of us, it’s because we don’t want to be judged, and we suspect we would be. Maybe we have been in the past. Perhaps we’ve known of others who were open and who suffered for it. Our fear and our pride keep us from intimacy with other believers. I’ve heard it said that the Church is the only army that shoots its own wounded. Unfortunately, I’ve seen evidence that this is sometimes a true statement.
What if we really viewed the church as a place for sinners and those redeemed by grace to gather and to authentically worship our great Savior?
What if we accepted everyone exactly as they are, acknowledging that we all need to grow to become more Christlike?
What if we didn’t judge by appearances, but took the time to examine the heart?
What if we didn’t judge by circumstances, but understood that there always are factors we don’t know about?
What if we openly accepted people who struggle, and helped them grow or recover?
What if we supported people who are victims of other people’s sin?
What if I could really tell you my struggles and my family’s struggles?
If so, then …
Couldn’t we help each other out?
Wouldn’t it be refreshing not to have to pretend?
Might our worship be more authentic?
Couldn’t we comfort each other?
Might others benefit from hearing of our own life experiences?
Might we benefit from hearing of their life experiences?
Couldn’t we hold each other accountable in a loving manner?
Wouldn’t we feel freer, lighter, more joyful?
And, most of all …
Wouldn’t we look a lot more like Jesus?