twice as blind

Posted: January 4th, 2012 | Filed under: life | Tags: | 12 Comments »

“I have a friend to whom I go for Christian advice and lately she is going through something with her family and I don’t think she’s acting very ‘Christian’. It’s really bothering me. What should I do or say to her?”

When someone asks questions like this, my first thought is usually, “What version of ‘Christian’ are you comparing her to?”

I think that people need someone to look up to. They need someone who won’t let them down. The problem with that is that people will always let you down.

We can’t set people up that way. We put them on pedestals and are frustrated when they can’t balance that high.

I do not understand my own actions. Forย I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. -Romans 7:15

People do the best they can and fight within themselves when they don’t measure up to their own standards. It’s suffocating to have to measure up to the foreign standards of others, too. It’s a fight of survival that has you completely focused on pleasing people and leaves no room for relying on the grace of Jesus to give them rest at night.

If people are honest in their relationship with you, then you will see the places that are imperfect. A good friend walks through the journey with them with enough grace to soften the blow of being a human. If you’re not a good friend, but only there for what you can get out of the relationship, then you will be a constant source of graceless judgment for them. You will never find a human being that can maintain the level of need that you are searching to fill. No human can do what only God can do.

Too often people will supplement their relationship with God with a relationship with a most-of-the-time Godly person. People will cling to pastors, pastors wives, or other recognized leaders and suck the life out of them as though these people were the Well of Living Water. Your church leaders are people. They cannot sustain you in the way that you need them to. You are pulling water out of a well that runs dry, gets contaminated, or loses the ability to pour out.

If you are getting your ‘food and drink’ from God, then you won’t be so desperate when people fail to measure up to your standards.

My heart breaks for people who are under the constant critical eye of the people they are trying to serve. If they want to maintain some distance so they can walk through their own bumpy life without the perpetual approving or disapproving comments from others, then they have to put on an Oscar winning performance every time they walk out in public. They’re in a no-win situation because people can tell that they’re holding back. The constant smile, constant positive attitude… it feels like a disillusioned, one-dimensional facade because, a lot of the time, it is.

This is why it’s hard to talk about your failures or questions in your church community. You can’t have perfect people and real people at the same time. Do you want a show or do you want a safe place to be vulnerable?

The people who would rather have a show are the most vocal and sometimes have the most influence. Grace and real life create too many questions and, for a place that is supposed to be the standard and have all the answers, that doesn’t go over very well.

This is the real battle. While all the people are fighting amongst themselves, the safe places are robbed of truth and rendered useless to people who are spiritually dying. It is not people that you’re up against. The people are distractions while the real attack is against faith. Nobody is fighting for the truth when they’re all fighting each other over practice.

The only truth worth fighting for is the Gospel of Jesus before Fear gets his hands on it. It’s the only truth because it’s the only thing that is finished. Everything else is in process and doesn’t look like it should.

Take your eyes off of people, they’re a mess at their best. Cynicism makes you twice as blind.

alt

 


12 Comments »


12 Comments on “twice as blind”

  1. 1 exegete77 said at 11:53 am on January 4th, 2012:

    Powerful words… wisdom for all of us. Thank you!

    Serena wrote: “People will cling to pastors, pastors wives, or other recognized leaders and suck the life out of them…” As a pastor I have “been there, done that, and show the scars.” Most pastors have a need to be “liked” and will over-extend themselves to help people. This becomes a vicious cycle. Thanks for addressing this. I will be copying and keeping this post for myself and to share with the seminarians I teach.

    Thanks again,
    Rich
    My recent post The Post(s) I Couldn’t Write

  2. 2 serenawoods said at 12:58 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    Thanks, Rich.

    I think a huge thing for leadership to remember is to be okay with not getting it right all the time. They need to have the grace for themselves that they have for other people.

  3. 3 dawn said at 1:36 pm on January 5th, 2012:

    Can I interject something into this scenario? Pastors often create this problem by lifting themselves up as the authority of the church and as it's leader. Jesus is the leader and authority, lift Him up instead.

  4. 4 Amy Renea said at 12:15 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    truth truth truth truth TRUTH

  5. 5 Lori said at 2:09 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    Oh, I could go on and on about this topic, but you said it just right. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. 6 serenawoods said at 3:14 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    Thanks, Lori. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. 7 Jason said at 2:32 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    “Take your eyes off people.”

    That to me is the perfect wrap up for the post. People will always fail us because of their imperfections. When we truly root into our hearts that God alone is perfect, it really releases a lot of pressure and burden that we place on other people and ourselves.

    Well said, Serena.

  8. 8 serenawoods said at 3:15 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    love it, Jason. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. 9 Heather said at 5:37 pm on January 4th, 2012:

    Thank you for this. In my head I don't expect perfection, and yet there is a major disconnect when life/people aren't perfect. Not sure how to do this, but I have identified it as a problem.

  10. 10 Robyn said at 12:42 pm on January 5th, 2012:

    Serena,

    I had to take the LOG out of my own eye…. and it never became more apparent until I needed others to see the one person I loved as "human" and not a FAILED CHRISTIAN…
    Doesn't it all just stem from …………….. PRIDE?
    My recent post STRENGTH

  11. 11 Charise Christianson said at 12:59 pm on January 7th, 2012:

    Serena girl "preach it"!!!! That's all I can say. Amen!!!!! I love your candor and your honesty, something we so desperately need in the body of Christ these days. Thank you!!

  12. 12 Tawnimiller said at 11:05 am on January 10th, 2012:

    When I fell off the pedestal I was put on as a youth group leader, it created this tidal wave of shock and awe. That was and still is the biggest hurdle to get over on my path to redemption and restoration. Some people have been able to forgive me and recognize that no one is perfect and continue to love me despite my failure and yet other Christians are not able to look past my mistakes. They "forgive" but have indicated that they cannot forget and so therefore cannot restore any type of relationship with me. It hurts because I am a people pleaser and I want to fix the hurt I caused. I feel so terrible about what I did. But I know that only Jesus can heal. Hurting people hurt people. Whether you started it or not, it goes both ways. Their "false" forgiveness is equally as sinful/hurtful as the person that offended them. It's almost as if it is they are forking out a punishment of sorts. They desire/expect a confession and an apology, however, in return there is no love or grace extended. Resentment, pride, criticism, self righteousness seep in and they refuse to see the offender as Jesus sees them, cleared and free of the offense. It's like a "tit for tat" attitude…you did this, so I'm going to do that to you. There are others that won't even respond to me or acknowledge me. They've wiped their hands of me and don't even want to entertain the idea of peace making. So by ignoring or cutting off the branch that was diseased, they don't have to deal with it and can go on living life as if nothing happened. Peace faking. That's not how grace works. I pray for those that I offended and are still hurt and that one day we can be restored, with true reciprocal forgiveness, hopefully while still on this earth, but surely when we are in Heaven. I forgive them and love them despite their offenses. If we were all perfect we wouldn't need Jesus.


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