Last night we resumed our Comm Group study on The Person of Jesus. It was great to get back to centering our meetings around study of God’s Word, as opposed to just fellowship and outreach as we had been doing for the summer (though I did find such time quite profitable for both of the aforementioned purposes).
The main point of the study was the need to be honest before others, not wearing masks. That way your sin can be out in the open and can be addressed and confessed. Several different instances in the gospels picture Jesus praising or being extremely patient with honest responses. Even Nathaniel who said, “What good can come out of Nazareth?” elicited a praise from Jesus.
Time and time again we see the disciples messing up, but truly being honest and open with their thoughts. And so Jesus responds positively or gently. But the Pharisees continually keep their thoughts inside. And Jesus responds negatively and very sternly. He calls them hypocrites and children of the devil.
But as children of God, our sin and thoughts can’t be kept hidden. How will others correct us when we’re wrong? How will others be able to encourage or rebuke us? Yet we can be open and honest and we can be wrong. The one’s calling us to account don’t do so from a ladder or mountain top. They do so from the same level ground which we stand upon: Christ. He levels the playing field, enabling us to express what’s in our hearts.
No question – openness and honesty is to be the hallmark of our Christian fellowship. But you know what scares me? Being open and honest about the same faults week after week, month after month, year after year. Do Christians have the patience to tolerate that, especially in a pastor? I sometimes wonder. But I also see that I don’t change much or fast. So Christians wonder, “Will people accept me if they really know who I am?” Challenges me to be patient with others who never seem to change.
Randy,It is scary to be open and honest with the same faults over and over. Christians have a ton of ‘warts.’ All of them do. Unfortunately many Christians think they are God’s gift to humanity. If everyone saw himself as more “warty,”then it would be much easier. Those who recognize their warts (and I know you do) have to lead the way, and call others to follow. Sometimes, in being open and honest, we may have a chance to expose their warts. It is so much easier on everyone if we would all confess our warts. But God has given us a great cloud of witnesses, so those who confess are in good company!