My good friend, Karen Johnson, posted this today on her Facebook page. It is such a great post I wanted to share it with my followers just in case you don’t see her daily post blessings. She is a great writer and I so enjoy her insight. I hope you agree with me after reading it. Here it is:
Before Matt and I got married we joined Celebrate Recovery (CR) together. CR is a program that helps you work through “any habits, hurts or hang-ups that are keeping you from a deeper relationship with God”. When this program is led well it is a beautiful thing.
Everyone has something that is keeping them from a deeper relationship with God. Sometimes we might not even realize it.
I’ve been in church for 40 years now, learning and following God and working through different sins. It feels a bit like climbing a ladder. As God works with me on one sin and I stop committing it I go up a step on the ladder. Thinking this way is a trap though because as I leave sins behind and become more righteous my sins just start to look better, they aren’t actually better sins.
As I left behind blatant lies and cussing I started feeling pretty good about myself. I’d review my actions at the end of the day and think to myself, “I didn’t even sin.” Days like this, months like this, I had stopped asking for forgiveness.
Stopped repenting because what was I even doing wrong? I hadn’t graduated from sin though I just had graduated to sneakier sins.
Sneaky sins are sins like self-righteousness, pride, gluttony, idolatry (I’m not talking about statue worship but putting something or someone above God), and deceit. (Help me with this list in the comments if you can think of another sneaky sin.) I had stopped seeing my sins as filthy rags and confessing them and being broken by them and had justified and shrugged them off as “no big deal”.
I’m writing this not because I’ve got all the answers but because I recognized my error and want to be transparent.
It was in CR that I learned an important lesson about transparency. When we fail to be transparent we create a culture within the church where we put our best foot forward and show up together and we know that we don’t have it all together but we make it look like we do. Then we get together with a bunch of other people who are doing the exact same thing but we don’t realize it. All we see is,
“wow they have it all together! What is wrong with me?”
Or if you’re in that pride and self-righteous thinking you look around and judge and think you do have it together, and that you’re doing pretty good. When you hear great sermon points you think to yourself, “I sure wish __________ was here to hear this.”
We are sick and we are infecting the church by pretending.
That’s why programs like a healthy CR ministry and a good small group are so important. We need to be real with one another, faking does no good to anyone. It doesn’t allow you to move forward and it makes others feel inferior.
- Be truthful.
- Be real.
- Be authentic and vulnerable
God will use your insufficiencies to show that He is more than sufficient. Like Paul said,
“But he (God) said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV
“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
-Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
Just a note from Shelley: Good books on this topic.
- Life’s Healing Choices- John Baker
- Get out of That Pit- Beth Moore
- Breaking Free- Beth Moore
Thanks Karen, love you!