Kay Warren wrote a really good piece called, “We Were in Marital Hell.” She’s the wife of Rick Warren, Saddleback church. Her article is raw, personal, painful, honest. Well done all around. Check it out.
What jumped out at me the most was how sad it all was. We have these people within the church trying to live these double lives, trying to keep up appearances, to live up to a standard, an expectation of what it looks like to be a Christian. In their case it is even more dramatic, because they are in the spotlight, there are a lot of eyes on them. They can’t be real. They can’t speak the truth of who and what they are. They’re wearing the “Christian mask.”
My heart grieves for this little girl who is sexually abused, but can’t really talk about it, discovers porn but can’t really talk about, struggling in marriage but can’t really talk about it, has a son with a mental illness but can’t really talk about it. Suffers the grief of losing him, and can’t really talk about it.
Well, she’s talking about it now.
What does it even mean to “talk about it?” I guess it means to not be afraid, to not feel as if you must wrap the truth in shame and hide it, to be able to speak to others and to know that you are not alone. The Truth is a person, One who sees us as we really are….and “while we were yet sinners, He died for us.”
There’s a myth, an urban legend, whatever you want to call it, that suggests being a Christian is somehow related to perfection, to having no mess in your life. It’s kind of like the stereotype of how we compartmentalize our faith, get all dressed up on Sunday, tell everyone we’re fine, I’m so blessed….and then the moment we hit the church parking lot the fighting starts again, reality rears it’s ugly head once more.
I have felt that tension in the air before, the deception lurking in the shadows. I once visited a church and we prayed for everything but that which was real. By the time we got to Great Aunt Edna’s corn removal surgery, I was ready to stand up and scream, doesn’t anybody here have any spiritual issues of their own? Because if you don’t, I have enough for all of us and I will be happy to share. I actually dream of building a giant catapult and flinging some really bad people off my planet. My husband is awesome, but the other day he was so full of himself I thought he’d really benefit from a healthy dose of horse laxatives. Sometimes I even yell at God Himself because I think He’s doing it all wrong. Anybody ever broken all ten commandments before lunch, at least in a metaphorical sense?…..
But then there are the really sweet churches, the ones where the people are real, and they sit down without even knowing you and minister to your soul. They speak the truth of who they are not really knowing those are the very words you needed to hear, delivered at just the right time.
The Lord puts those words in their mouth, He calls them to go bravely, boldly before the throne of grace, to tell their story and in the process, they speak to us, they minister to us all. It’s often not even about “us” at all, but about Him and who around us needs to hear His word through us. God bless those people, they have saved my life more than once.
I speak to many people who say they’ll come to Christ once they get their life together. Don’t wait, that day never really comes. I speak to others who tell me they’ll go to church when “things get better.” Don’t do that either, go now, mess and all.
Maybe you don’t think you need the church, but I think the church sure needs you.