West Franklin Family,
A unique thing happened to me this week. It’s happened before, but it’s been a while. To be honest, it is unfortunate (a) that it is unique; and (b) that it has been a while.
One of you came to my office in the middle of the week and confessed a sin. You were crying. You were scared. You were ashamed. You were upset. You weren’t sure – really – why you were there. But you let me know what was going on.
This person didn’t come seeking absolution from the pastor. They know only Jesus does that. This person didn’t come seeking approval. This person didn’t come thinking I would fix it or make the problem go away. This person simply came to acknowledge their sin and, in their own words confess, “I can’t do it anymore and I cannot fix this on my own.”
Do you know what my soul was screaming inside of me as this person spoke? “Me too!” I didn’t say that. And it’s not that I struggle with the same sin. But there are sins I struggle with I cannot fix. I cannot get beyond. I cannot take control of.
In the most unique of ways. In the most unique of circumstances. In the most vulnerable of moments, I felt a kindred spirit. I felt one with this church member in my (and their) weakness. It was weird. A good weird. A “freeing” weird. This person wasn’t hoping for anything from me. This person wasn’t trying to show off or “one up” anyone. This person wasn’t trying to be the best and greatest. This person was demonstrating a major struggle and area of weakness . . . and it was remarkably refreshing.
If you think about it, shouldn’t this be the way we are with one another? I mean, isn’t that what a church is? Isn’t this what church does? Aren’t we constantly confessing that we are “sinners saved by grace”? If that’s true (and it is), then shouldn’t this be the norm? If anyone should understand sin and falls and shame and disgrace and guilt, shouldn’t it be us? If anyone can empathize with another who courageously acknowledges their struggles, shouldn’t it be us?
Sometimes I wonder where it went wrong. When did we become a people who jockey for position, boasting in our strengths and gifts – when, really, what we should be boasting in is our weaknesses? Isn’t that what Paul meant when he recognized that in his weakness is when he experienced God’s power? (See 2 Corinthians 12:1-10) Isn’t that the way it works? Don’t we experience God’s grace and power and love and mercy and might and beauty – in our weaknesses and insufficiencies? I wonder why we do the opposite? We put on our best face, so we get glorified by each other; rather than be okay with genuine weakness so God gets the glory for what He does and who He is.
I don’t know everything about you, but I do know this: you have a sin problem you are dealing with. All of us do. Tomorrow many of you will walk in the church doors giving the appearance that you have it all together. I know because I do it. But I want you to know that it’s okay if you acknowledge you don’t have it all under control. It’s okay to be honest. It’s okay to confess that something is out of whack. Jesus’ brother promised healing if we do that.
I am not sure what will happen to the person who came to my office this week. But I know this: They found a kindred spirit. They also are at a perfect place to experience the life-giving power of God. West Franklin, let’s be okay with displaying our weakness. Who knows? We might experience God and His grace – together – as never before.
Because His Grace Really Is Amazing,
I am eager to see you in the morning with my Bible open to Jonah 2. And, wait for it . . . COFFEE WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE MORNING FOR BOTH SERVICES!!!!