Confessions From a Missionary
Ryan's taking over my blog tonight. I have had a case of writer's block lately - I have the ideas but the thoughts are just not coming together coherently. Maybe the Lord is shutting my brain off because my husband hasn't felt a need or a desire to write in a long time and lately he's had a few thoughts on his heart that he feels he wants to share. So, I'll bow out now and let him share...
A man I grew up with posted something on facebook today that really hit home for me. I have always struggled with the subject that will follow but never knew the right way to handle it. I still don’t but maybe some of you readers can set me straight:) The post basically called out a “Christian man” for wronging him and his son by lying to them. My friend was obviously upset with his brother but I think it was worse because his brother confesses to be a Christian. Now, I don’t think the fact that he was a Christian should hold him to a different standard…or should it? That’s the big question. Our actions, for those of us that profess to be of a Christian belief, are held to a higher standard and our sins often convince non-believers that we have nothing better to offer than what they are currently living. Our sins, especially those that are displayed in the public eye, are a huge topic of interest and we can say it’s not fair that we are put on a pedestal. We are held to a different standard and we do deserve it. We, and that includes me, have a persona of perfection and walk around in public as if we have no problems and nothing bothers us because God is good all the time. When was the last time you said something real or more important, honestly, in response to “how are you?” We nod our head, put on a big smile and say “life couldn’t be better”, or “I am so blessed”, or “God is good.” We aren’t allowed in our society, our Christian non-judgmental society?? to have problems because we must view everything as a blessing from God. It’s all in the big plan, right? Isn’t that how we feel? I know I said that a lot especially in my most recent history, but I have to admit, I often didn’t mean it. What I wanted to say was “my life sucks right now and I really don’t trust God right now”. Would you have been inspired if I wrote that? Sometimes real won’t reach other Christians because we have hardened our hearts to a standard that we have created that we are not allowed to have a negative approach to anything that comes our way or we aren’t living by faith. I am one of the worst but it has eaten at me my whole life. I want to be real and I find that the more real I am the more people that are touched by my words. When I talk about my failures, I reach the lost. I might offend the biggest percentage of my fellow Christians, but my duty as a “Christian man” is to reach the lost and if you are offended, maybe it’s conviction? The first example of this for me is when I served as a volunteer missionary and had the persona of perfection. It was a persona and I will share more on that later but one day I had been beat down and was doing my duty as the perfect Christian. Every Sunday afternoon I rented a small soccer arena and played with some of the local boys from our church and a few from the neighborhood. On this particular day, my competitiveness overcame my Christian demeanor and I lost my cool in the middle of a game. It is funny to look back on now as I tried to relay my disgust with these young men who understood about 5 words in English so they had to watch me fumble with words and complain in a language I had not yet overcome. So, needless to say, I would have been cussing them out without using profanity of course (I was a missionary), ok a foul word or two probably would have slipped out despite my best intentions. They just looked at me, most of them shocked but as I look back I think they finally saw the real me. I did later apologize for my behavior to each and every one of them but as I found out later, that was a defining moment. They had never seen a “missionary” act like that and actually seem human. I earned more respect in that moment than in the first year that I had tried so hard to be the missionary I thought I was supposed to be. They would often remind me of that moment and laugh hysterically as they would reenact my actions and gibberish that spewed from my mouth. They were able to connect with me on a whole new level from that moment on and they opened up to me deeper than I could have ever imagined. Without that imperfect and down right embarrassing moment, I would have failed to connect with them and show them that “Christian” does not mean perfect. Jesus is the only perfect man who walked this earth and no one should be held nor hold himself to that standard. But, don’t be afraid to share your imperfections and tear down those walls that might just be holding you back. I don’t condone what my friend’s brother did but I also can’t say I know the whole story. I think an apology is in order even if the brother isn’t in the wrong because that is our duty. Not to be perfect, but to ask forgiveness and be the bigger man even when we aren’t at fault. I’m not sure if I would always be the bigger man but I hope one of you would remind me of the right thing to do. We must hold each other to a high standard (not perfection) but also expect that we will all fail from time to time. I have struggled with how to wrap up this post because I have so much more to say about the subject matter but I’ll finish with this: Tell your story whatever it is, the good, the bad and the ugly because sometimes it’s the ugly that opens the door where there couldn’t have been one before and try your best not to judge others by the mistakes they make because you will be judged on a much higher playing field in their eyes.
Just keep livin!