Monday, January 7, 2013

Honest to God

In late teens and early adult years I was part of a very dynamic and growing congregation. I loved the preaching, the worship, the fellowship, but there was one thing I could not understand: why was everyone always so bubbly and victorious? 

Folks around me seemed on top of their world and I felt like a loser among champions of the faith. Years later I found out through honest conversations with some of my friends that the culture of the congregation did not give space for honest expressions of failure, doubts and pain.

So people faked it.

I am reading through Job. His friends sound like some of my childhood friends: if you live right then everything should come up roses.

Job will have none of their plastic, phony, artificial faith. Life cannot be reduced to simplistic formulas.

Job is honest with God and his friends. Listen to what he said:   
“I loathe my life;
            I will give free utterance to my complaint;
                        I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
            I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
                        let me know why you contend against me. (Job 10:1-2 ESV)

This is so healthy on many levels:
  1. He is honest with God
  2. He is honest with his “friends.”
  3. He is honest with himself
  4. He has nothing to prove; nor is he trying to impress others
  5. He throws himself on the integrity of God

Wouldn't it be great if our churches became places where people stopped posing; ditched artificial smiles and a dressed up faith and instead were honest before God and others?

People in our world looking for a faith that is authentic might just take notice of the power of Christ in our expressed weakness (I Corinthians 2:1-5).

What do you think?