And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
I’d like to spend a few days covering the big topic of Christian “vulnerability”, which has in recent years come to almost mean “cool” among Christians. Often times Christians are swinging out of some environment where they felt like no one was honest ever. No one mentioned that they themselves might sin at times. Everyone pretended that they too lived in the world of Thomas Kinkade, where there are no garbage days, or vomit, or headaches, or remodels that leave your thatched roof cottage with a construction dumpster out front and tarps all over the roof for three years.
This is an understandable response. What are the people of God doing pretending? Why would we act like we are strong, and perfect? What is with pretending that we have our act together? This becomes especially difficult if you yourself are struggling. You need someone to say, “This is normal. This is what it is like for all of us. You aren’t alone.” But when you look around the church you see a lot of people that you would rather die than tell about your problems. They all look happy. It doesn’t seem like they have a struggling marriage. None of these ladies look like they ever had an abortion. She is never tempted to complain. Look at her smiling at that snotty kid. These people cannot be real. If I told anyone about my problems, they would pull up the hem of their colonial re-enactment gown and and flee from me forthwith.
Now a number of different exciting situations come out of this kind of problem. The first angle that I’d like to cover on this whole topic is the accusations. Because often when this sort of thing happens to us, we start brainstorming for answers and frequently come to the conclusion that all these people are fake and their religion is not real. Not real like mine. Look at them being fakers. What are we going to do about this?!
When you see a follower of Christ, who you believe has some level of “fake-ness”, what are you doing about it? If you feel that it is clear that the plastic smile is there to cover up a hurting marriage, why are you standing and pointing? What possible Christian reason could you have for wanting to expose this person as a charade? Are you reaching out to them? Are you looking for ways to show mercy to them? Are you lifting them up in your prayers, asking God to pour out His grace on them? Are you asking Him to make His strength perfect in their weakness?
Far more often you will find Christians open air preaching about the cover up jobs they believe other Christians are perpetrating. We point fingers. We sneer. We confer amongst ourselves to come to the conclusion that the image they are projecting is, in fact, impossible. Really? To what end?
Imagine that we are all in one of the gospel stories, walking behind Jesus. Imagine bringing this concern to him. “Lord, Lord! Stop! Christine thinks she has it all together! She thinks that she is a good mom! She thinks that she knows it all about marriage! Lord! Stop her! And she keeps hanging out with other ladies who look like they think they have it all together! Stop them, Lord!”
What do you actually think would come of this? What do you think Jesus would say about this? He would probably ask you why you care. You would probably camouflage the envy with worry about how this person is making the church look. Look at what they are doing to the evangelistic cause, Lord. Look at how she is making other moms feel bad about themselves.
And Jesus said, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:23)
If you are following Christ, what is that to you? So the next time you feel annoyed or angered at someone who you feel is not being vulnerable or real, imagine yourself bringing that concern to the Lord. Then actually do it. But be prepared for the answer that He will have for you. What is that to you? You follow me.