We all know “that” person.
On social media, their life is perfect. They never have a bad day. Every single moment they breathe on Earth is a blessing and they will make sure you know that.
And yet, even with all their perfect pictures, we all know that couldn’t possibly be true. Nobody lives their life only having perfect days.
Even knowing this, I need a reminder from time to time. One came recently as a friend and I were speaking about a specific mutual friend of ours. She shared with me that they had said something I thought was uncharacteristic of them. I immediately replied “you wouldn’t think that looking at their social media!“, and, after a short pause, followed up with “then again, that’s only their highlight reels“.
I wasn’t saying it to look down on them. On the contrary, because I had elevated them so highly in my mind that the thought of them acting in a specific way surprised me.
HUMANS ARE FALLIBLE. Yes, even the ones that follow Jesus.
I’ve shared this in the past, but my husband and I had a chance to move to Dallas a couple of years ago, but after giving it some thought, I encouraged him against it. Why?
Because I knew I only wanted to go to Dallas to become a member of the Village Church. At first, I thought it was a blessing of an opportunity! I’ve been listening to Matt Chandler practically since I was saved 10 years ago! While other pastors I’ve listened to have been involved in scandals or have been distracted, Matt Chandler has remained a constant. Surely, attending his church would be amazing.
But I stopped myself with one thought: “What happens if Matt Chandler falls away?”
I still wrestle with this at times. I pray against that day ever becoming a reality, but because we are all fallible, it could very well happen. There are certainly other pastors just as incredible that have fallen away for a variety of reasons. What happens if Matt Chandler falls away?
Or more specifically, what happens to ME if Matt Chandler falls away?
How closely is my identity tied to one specific preacher? Do I lose faith in my theology if he falls away? Does the foundation of my saving faith just crumble to pieces the moment I hear the news? It began to avalanche into deeper questions about my personal faith and walk.
Don’t get me wrong. If (GOD FORBID) he did, in fact, fall away, it’s going to be a really hard day for me. I’ll grieve because if HE can fall away…just how vulnerable am I to the same mistakes?
But that’s precisely the point: All of us, no matter how long we’ve been saved, how well we can quote the Bible from memory, or how long we’ve studied theology and doctrine, are capable of turning our attention off God and turning to idols that, if not corrected, will lead to us falling away.
(As for moving to Dallas, I made the decision, based on the pedestal I had him on, to not only bring other sound teachers into my “library”, but to also not join that church and not move to Dallas).
I say all of this because he recently made this very point in a sermon. I don’t remember his exact words, but he was basically telling his (socially distanced) congregation that he is not a super Christian and that, if people put him on a pedestal, he will eventually do something they disagree with and fail them.
There are no super Christians. That is a lie from Satan himself. While we are all gifted in different ways, we all have access to the same Holy Spirit. We are all the same in that regard. We are all brothers and sisters with access to the Father through Jesus Christ, all with the Holy Spirit within us.
My life isn’t perfect. There are days I speak harshly to my kids and think to myself “you blew it again“. There are days when I have a sharp tongue with my husband, which leads me to say mean things to him and wonder why I said them in the first place. There are things I desire and have prayed for that I do not have, and there are things I don’t desire that God hasn’t changed. I’ve prayed prayers that are just so aligned to His will (or so I’ve thought) and wondered why nothing seems to change.
I’ve suffered. Oh, I’ve been in very dark places mentally. Many years ago, as a sister in the faith, I’ve had moments when I’ve asked God to just end my life. When He didn’t, I realized He wasn’t quite done with me yet.
And I’ve learned I am not alone in having visited those dark places.
I imagine Paul, writing from a prison cell, had questions about what God was doing in his life.
I imagine Peter, drenched in the shame of having denied the Lord he loved, sitting in a dark room wondering if he truly could be used by God. I could see him being corrected by Paul, feeling shame yet again.
I imagine Charles Spurgeon, my ancient friend, suffering through his life long depression, having a moment where he questioned if his suffering really could be redeemed by God?
But it’s not just my ancient heroes that have taught me that we are all HUMAN.
I was encouraged when I went to a pastor years ago about issues in my family and learned that they had similar issues in their own family.
When Matt Chandler talks about how the first 7 years of his marriage were terrible, I’m encouraged to know not every marriage is perfect (in fact, none are). And that’s okay.
And as a result, I try to be as open of a book as possible (with respect to the privacy of those involved in not so great moments of my life). I am open with my struggles.
It’s the entire point of The Glass House Gospel.
We are called to live openly, allowing the world to see that YES we struggle, YES we suffer, YES we have pains, YES we live through dark moments.
Because while they see us openly in our suffering, they’re also seeing that God is always by our side. They can’t see that if we block their view.
We’re all human. Let’s let others know it’s okay to be human too.
Grace & Peace,