Note: This is a guest post by Jim Woods. He is a writer, musician and dreamer in Nashville, TN. His passion lies in helping others fulfill their dreams. You can read more of his posts on his personal blog, or follow him on Twitter @unknownjim.
Transparency: The Only Cure-All for Holier Than Thou-itis
I recently read Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz. As a result of the book, I began questioning my experience with corporate Christianity. I didn’t really know why, but I had feelings of pain inside.
It wasn’t until I visited my home church again that I discovered why I been feeling this way. In his sermon the pastor said,” Sin is unbecoming of a child of God. Whoever sins practices lawlessness and therefore he who sins tramples on Jesus.” The pastor repeated this statement several times, and at no point mentioned how this applied to himself.
This statement, combined with the tone in which it was delivered, came across as both arrogant and condescending. I firmly believe we are ALL sinners in desperate need of God’s grace, pastors included.
At some point, I started to think only pastors were capable of having a close connection with God. I had screwed up, and missed my chance for a close, authentic relationship with Him. In my mind, pastors have extensive knowledge of the Bible, pray for hours every day, and go to seminary. So of course they have a stronger bond with God.
I know this logic is flawed, but when you’ve been inundated with a tone of condescension, it becomes accepted. Even in a Bible-preaching Baptist church.
The truth is the person giving the sermon is in no way more “holy” or “worthy” than the rest of us. The pastor does not have a VIP Pass granting immediate access while everyone else waits for their number to be called. We all have our own VIP Pass, no one is a second class citizen!
How can we promote healing in relationships within the church?
Speak up. If someone offends you, let them know. But do so in a loving, patient, kind manner. This is probably not the best thing to email about. Make it a phone call or even meet face-to-face.
Talk about real life. Not a conceptual, theological discussions filled with hard to understand terminology and ancient jargon.
Break down barriers. Do what Jesus did. Follow His example.
Tone is important. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself with humility. The more humble and honest the we are, the better.
Take individual responsibility. Do not shift the blame solely to someone else. Take responsibility for your own actions.
Thank-you, Jim, for sharing with us today!
How about you? How have you confronted difficult areas like this in your life?