Wednesday, October 14, 2009

When Good Christians Go Bad - A Response

I know intimately the situation to which Lil Spoon is referring. This has been a rough year for our church as a whole and even worse for some of us as individuals. The level of disillusion is pretty high. People I have thought I knew nearly as well as I knew myself have proven to be broken in ways that I could not begin to have imagined. In some cases I know mitigating circumstances and am able to feel nothing but pity for the people involved despite my anger at the hurt they have caused others. Yet still there is the need to speak truth and say this behavior is wrong. This choice is sinful and hurtful to others. This needs to change. Repentance means changing not just being sorry.

Repentance is one of those big churchy words that has gotten a bad rap lately. Along with sin. We like to pretend that its all sunshine and roses and be "seeker friendly" and all that. And that's a good thing. Jesus does love us just as we are. But He doesn't leave us that way. And thank God for that.

Nash is one of my best friends in the entire world. We have known each other since we were children and he loves me just about as close to unconditionally as it is possible for human beings to love. He also has been far more patient with me over the years than any one human being deserves. Even at that, he's quick to let me know when I'm screwing up my life and particularly when I'm screwing up my life in a way that impacts others. He told me recently after one such incident, "You're better than this."

I think that's how God sees us when we're being self-destructive and hurting others out of our own pain. He created us in his image and He knows how much better we are than we think we are capable of being. If we're open to letting Him help us face our own dark places then over time He grows us into that better self.

Self-help as a genre is one of the largest sellers in the publishing world. Clearly we know that we are screwed up people. We're looking for answers for our problem. The church has those answers to a large degree but because we're suddenly pretending that we don't have problems nothing is getting solved. And the world looks at the church and sees us as being as screwed up as everyone else is and wonders, "what's the point?"

As Yul Brenner used to say in "The King and I"...Is a puzzlement.

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