Living an authentic Christian life is just hard, isn’t it?
In a world of curated shiny “selfies” we want to be honest about our own mess and love others well in the midst of theirs. We don’t want to be the fakey judgey plastic Christians, banging others over the head with our Bibles, ignoring our own sin.
In the past few years I think there have been some brave, articulate Christians who have modeled vulnerability and authenticity well. It’s been a much-needed corrective to a Christian culture that just wants to show happy-clappy to the world and use the sword of Truth as a weapon of mass destruction.
These truth-tellers have been detailed and explicit about their mess, and God’s love, but sometimes I feel we’re in danger overcompensating – of making an idol out of authenticity and stopping short of truly grieving it as sin.
It seems like it has become more noble to talk about our sin than actually repent of it.
A pastor stands up or a writer writes “real” – confessing motives, actions, thoughts, words – a heart that is darker than we’d guess.
We’re like, “Wow! That is so great! He is sooooo AUTHENTIC!!”
We applaud their courageous honesty and breathe a sigh of relief. “Phew! I’m not the only one”, we think.
When we feel safe to show our rough edges, our failures, our missteps; we may celebrate grace. Yay! There’s NOTHING we can do to be holy, or good enough. I’m ok, you’re ok.
But have we translated Jesus’ acceptance of us right where we are, into an endorsement of whatever feels good to our culture? Has his patience in our minds morphed into tolerance of everything?
Does it mean we ignore God’s grief over our sin, or the price that He paid to rescue us, or the dreams that He has for our growth in character that is like Him?
Has “authentic” become code for celebrating sin under the guise of “Jesus is Love so it’s all good”?
Has love become all comfort and no cost?
Do we think someone loves us only if they endorse our behavior?
Here’s what I’ve been thinking… We get into trouble when we omit God from any Gospel equation.
You may say, “Well, duh!” but think about how inclined we are to do this.
Truth – Grace = Gospel – God (pharisaical)
Grace – Truth = Gospel – God (self-centered)
Both omit God from the equation.
Do you take the kindness of God for granted? Do you see His patience and tolerance as signs that He is a pushover when it comes to sin? How could you not know that His kindness is guiding our hearts to turn away from distractions and habitual sin to walk a new path? Romans 2:4 The Voice
Clearly I’m not the only one thinking about this.
The church is where we as the broken and beloved come to receive grace and forgiveness, to place ourselves in God’s hands for His refining and redemptive work. This is not easy stuff! I’m thankful for grace AND truth… grateful that we’re on the way together.