I had an interesting conversation a couple of days ago.
In the conversation, my friend deemed someone as "pretending to be a Christian" based on a mistake made by the person.
I was baffled. It seems that the only way to "pretend to be a Christian" is to pretend to be perfect. My faith is based on my acknowledgment of imperfection. I daily live out a major aspect of my faith as I daily fail. This is foundational.
Slowly, the Christian faith seems to have been distorted. (An aside, I am not blaming my friend for the distortion of Christianity, our conversation just brought this to the forefront of my mind.) Reading about Jesus moving from sinner to sinner, failure to failure seems to have lost its impact. Jesus laid it down for the Pharisess, a bunch of folks pretending to be holy and yet dealt with those who admitted their failure with grace and compassion. Why then, are Christians constantly pretending to be perfect?
I'm not criticizing Christian's who strive to be perfect. That's great. I'm criticizing Christians who refuse to be open about their failures. Through being open about our failures, we invite the grace of God. Isn't that why we all hopped on the Christian faith to begin with? Give God the chance to dish out some grace.
And in the same vain, as Christians fail, give them grace. What a beautiful thing! Having failure met with grace, not judgment, not the evaluation of a person's faith. Our faith exists in our failure.
I think of the books that have touched me most. They are not by lofty theologians, but by men and women who are open about how hard all this is. It is hard. Sometimes, it seems very impossible. How refreshing to express that.
I so want to see this faith removed from the hands of the Pharisees and once again used to satisfy the hurts of the failures. I think that's what is was supposed to be.