I have had a really bad week at work. I have experienced more than my fair share of miscommunication, blame, deflection, raised voices, misunderstandings ... and the list goes on. Friday morning I really would have rather taken a beating than to have gone to work. If you follow me on facebook, you know I am fairly transparent with my feelings. So, I posted, "Would gladly take a beating if it meant I didn't have to go to work today. And before you think I am not grateful for my job, please do not even go there." I put the "grateful" disclaimer because, inevitably, whenever I say anything rather than a positive statement I receive comments like, "At least you have a job," or, "Be careful about the words you speak into existence," or, "You are so blessed you should not complain," etc. Now, do not get me wrong. I am grateful for friends who are encouraging and are looking out for my own good. However, where do you draw the line of what is reality and what is not?
I know the Evangelical Church, Pentecostalism and Christian ease. I have followed it, led it, served as pastor in it, loved it, hated it, tolerated it, run from it, run to it, lived it and breathed it. Since leaving vocational ministry nearly two years ago, I have backed away from it. I have thought about it, examined it, studied it, prayed about it and conversely ignored it. In taking a step "out of it," I see a lot of things clearly that I never saw while navigating "through it." I have come to grips that there is a sense of denial for most Evangelical Christians. We tend to pick Scripture we like and ignore those we do not. We hide anything bad that is going on in our lives and only share the good. We sometimes judge and condemn those who are going through terrible situations with a self-righteous air that says, "If you were 'well-behaved,' or 'holy' enough, you wouldn't be going through this," whether directly, or indirectly. We lead people to think that, "If you would just go to church, nothing bad would happen to you." Bull Hockey!
The truth of the matter is the same things in life happen to everyone: Christian, other religion, Atheist, Agnostic, etc. The Christian faith, if not careful, sets people up for failure. We look for perfection in the Bible. And, we look for deliverance from our troubles from Heaven. We examine characters such as David and say, "I wish I had the passion for God that David had." Really, do you know the makeup of this great king? He appears to be a peeping Tom, possibly addicted to the porn of his day in spying on the nude Bathsheba; he was an adulterer; he was a murderer; and, many theologians conclude from scripture that he and Jonathon were possibly more than close friends. I have made the statement before that I would love to have the passion for God that David had. But, that may be a little too much passion for me. For, to have that level of passion for God obviously means that you have a lot of passionate internal battles to contend with.
We proclaim holiness. Let's be honest, the Bible is very specific in saying, even if loosely translated, "Without holiness nobody will see God." Although we need to strive to be Christlike, it is impossible to be perfect. David was not and Paul was not. Both of these Bible greats faced many earthly struggles which are recorded publicly in Christian history. The longer I live, the more I learn to live in Christ's love, mercy and grace. For, I truly believe the only true holiness I will ever achieve is through His blood, not through my behavior.
So, live for Him. But, also remember that bad days happen. It is alright to be honest about them. Bad things happen to good people. It's alright to be honest about it. Those who cast a condemning word at you for "being human" are struggling with things that are just as deep, if not deeper, in their own lives. They are just probably too afraid to show their lack of perfection to let you know about it.