In the recent past, I’ve been a shade monster.
For months, I was seeing a guy (now officially my wonderful boyfriend) but on a Sunday Morning would pretend like there was nothing going on, or if people would ask me about it I wouldn’t really be honest with them. Though I wasn’t fooling many people, I still wasn’t being straightforward and it was eating away at me inside. Though seeing Travis* wasn’t a “sin issue,” it still felt so good when we finally felt it was right to date and our feelings came out into the light. I realized later the distance that had grown between myself and others because of my not-so-secret-secret.
I thought being vague and discreet would keep me safe. From what? I don’t know. Now I realize all I was really doing was not giving others the freedom to be honest about their lives either. Romans 15 says this about the church:
1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. 2Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 3 For even Christ did not please himself but, as it is written: “The insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.”[a]
As a leader I thought by my general policy of withholding information about my past or even present shortcomings and questions, I wouldn’t cause other people to stumble like I had.** I thought it was a necessary boundary I needed to have between myself and others.
Really it was arrogant to place that much distance between myself and the people and FRIENDS I am SERVING.
Really I was protecting myself and not letting others in.
If I didn’t give my cares to others, how could I have a real relationship with them? How could I bear their failings and they mine if we weren’t honest about them?
Really I could have even been perpetuating an idea of a “spiritual elite”:
I’m in ministry because I’m perfect and know the answers to all of life’s situations, oh AND and I know everything about Jesus.
Maybe one day you’ll be like me. [hair flip]
If you believe people in ministry are a part of some “spiritual elite” you are wrong. As many of you have seen through hurts in your church and failures in leadership, people will always sin and will always let you down in some way. People can even do exactly what God wants them to do and still disappoint you! Don’t put your hope entirely in your leadership, but do demand honesty from them and give it in return.
And on that note: If your motivation for correcting someone or withholding information comes more from the desire to be “right” and accepted than the pursuit of truth, then you are in a danger zone…and you are not only hurting yourself. You are creating an atmosphere around you where people feel the need to put on a show for you. Your actions affect more than you. Especially if you are in leadership.
Repent, seek the truth…and TELL IT!
Honestly, I suck. I fail. I have no idea why Jesus died for me when I’ve cheated on Him time and time again. It’s a mercy that I have a hard time comprehending being able to extend to any human being. Yet this is what God commands. He asks us to participate in His SACRIFICE of love by loving each other. By admitting our idiocy to each other and in turn having the grace to forgive each other.
My Pastor displays this time and time again to me. I walk in there and speak my mind and tell him the stupid things I’ve done, and he LOVINGLY corrects me and I feel like a million bucks after. I still walk in there afraid to tell him things sometimes…but when I am afraid to be honest with my Pastor about things, I wonder if I’m being honest with myself or with GOD about them too. Have I really repented if I am afraid to admit my shortcomings?
I promise you this, at least from me to the best of my wisdom and very HUMAN abilities: I will from here on out be honest with you. It’s not always going to be pretty, but I am going to expect love from you when I am, and you can expect the same in return.
*Not Captain J. Travis, hot guitar player Travis…just clearing that up
**I do believe there are some things that are WISE not to disclose to EVERYONE…but I don’t believe there is anything you can’t tell to ANYONE.
Also in truth telling we have to be VERY careful to avoid the temptation to gossip.
I’m just saying in general… let’s be honest.