Every now and then I’ll have an epiphany. Really, I just think it takes a while for my ADD to connect the dots between information. Or maybe I am just slow. Hahaha But Tuesday, I read this article and it hit a nerve that was already inflamed. This followed the one I had with last Thursday’s post that showed I’m not the only one with a sensitive nerve. But I really don’t want to turn this into a regular feature where I bash the churches I grew up in over perception (whether or not grounded in fact or emotion).
Of course, I posted the above article on Facebook, and, of course, it elicited a rather snarky comment (which I totally agreed with, btw, snark & all). I’ve kind of been mulling it over ever since, trying to remember any example of confessing sins to one another in any of the churches I have ever attended. I can remember a handful of instances of people getting publicly caught in sin, but no voluntary confessions.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16 ESV)
Oh, and I sure as heck wasn’t ever going to confess mine. Seriously? Drop the mask and show I’m still struggling with stuff? And be judged? Because, of course, that is what I expected. But the main problem with this is there is no accountability, so you just get deeper and deeper until suddenly you find yourself unable to cover it up, and it’s out in the open, huge and horrible as opposed to way back when it was just thoughts. How do I know this? Because I am pretty sure I am not the only one unable to self-regulate.
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
Left on our own with our own thoughts, it is really easy to rationalize and excuse….and do. For those of us who grew up in the church, I think we sometimes feel we are expected to have an easy walk especially if our parents were teachers or more especially preachers or deacons. I learned how to wear the mask as if I wasn’t struggling with sin, while at the same time, internally rationalizing how it was ok. “This isn’t such a big deal.” “That’s not really bad.” That stuff builds up…and hardens…and hurts when it’s broken off years later.
Somewhere along the line, I have learned from keeping my skellingtons locked away. I got to a point with a particular sin that was trying (and coming real close to succeeding) to manifest itself, I knew I either had to do the deed or get someone to help me through it. Prayer alone wasn’t helping. So I shared that struggle with 4 friends to hold me accountable to not do what I wanted to do, and who would be praying with me and for me. And that wasn’t an easy thing for an introvert who doesn’t trust anyone to do. You know what? It’s not so hard to deal with now. The entire situation has changed. Not immediately, and the underlying issue is still an issue, but it is no longer overwhelming and consuming.
So rather than bash, I’m pleading. Drop the masks. Be real. Just because you have been justified does not mean you have been glorified. There is a whole lot of sanctifying that takes place between the two. That’s the growth. That’s where the fruit is produced. That’s where you cannot hope to grow alone. There is a reason non-believers think we are all hypocrites. We are. We put on our masks and pretend that we no longer struggle with our old self, and instead of dying to self, we are killing our witness and testimony with our own self-righteousness.