What did you expect when you became a part of a church?
Some believe that Christian people really have their lives together. Some Facebook posts seem to almost suggest that marriage, family, and life in general are always wonderful. The husband/wife is always thoughtful, amazing, awesome, etc. The kids are always cute, adorable, angelic, etc. Some even suggest that if one has really turned his/her life over to the Lord, everything in life will basically be smooth.
The truth is that sometimes life is very hard.
Marriage to the best person in the world can still be difficult. Parenting children (yes, I know you adore them) can still be very hard.
Even committed followers of Jesus still deal with temptation. I was once in a conversation with a person who was telling me about a temptation she was facing. In the course of the conversation she said, “I hope you don’t think I’m a bad person because I’m tempted by these things.”
Bad person? Hardly!
She was a normal person. Human beings – all of us – are going to be tempted by something. It is not a sin to be tempted. Sin occurs when we move from temptation into another realm.
There are often two negative consequences when churches believe that Christians have their lives together:
1. Some Christians believe that they really don’t have a sin struggle anymore and consequently look down on anyone who struggles or fails in life. Some people may even look down on some who experience certain temptations. In their minds, real Christians would not even have the temptation. Such people may come together on a Sunday morning and communicate in subtle and not-so-subtle ways that the people in their church just don’t have problems like other people.
2. Some Christians in such environments realize they must hide. When they are with people from their church, they think “I can’t let people know what I really struggle with. They would look down on me if they knew some of the thoughts that went through my mind this week.” Consequently, they work hard to project an image that they believe will be acceptable to their peers in the congregation. Such a person may often feel isolated and alone in a congregation because she doesn’t think she can tell anyone who she really is. After awhile, that person may wonder, “What’s the use?”
A church was never meant to be a spotless group of people on display. Rather, we have been called to display the One who has redeemed us in our brokenness and sin. Not only do we discover Jesus in such a church but we discover what it means to really be human.