Authenticity...In the church

I want to talk about real things...I need to talk about these things, especially to my christian friends. Without any other outlet to do this and because if I were to get a group of Christians in one room and began talking about real issues..they would look at me sideways..

Let me just begin by saying that you might find out A LOT about me on this post, some might never speak to me again, but I want that. I want you to find out about me..there's only so much my head can take..I need to spill. So I will, as self-therapy and hopefully, to get some discussion started in the christian communities around..maybe..

****Deep Breaths***

Recent activities in my life have really opened me up to the concept of honesty. Real honesty. Not in the 'oh-my-gosh she just said that' way, but in the 'I need you to be honest with me about these issues, because I need guidance'. I need honesty, I need to be honest and I need people around me to be honest.

I'm Nigerian. Much of our culture is based on hiding the bad and over-exaggerating the good, even in our faith, we're taught to go to church, listen, sing the right songs during praise and worship, pray properly, say 'praise the lord' after every sentence. Then if you're a true christian you should know how to speak in tongues...blast some spiritual language in your loudest voice, jump up and down to be more effective and then, frown like you are trying to discover life's secrets after the session has ended. Call everyone sister/brother this and that, while clutching your bible, the Word, to your side- That's your substance, show the world.

Please don't get me wrong, I get excited when I hear the word and my spirit jumps up and down when I get excited. I speak in tongues too and I love it! Especially during my private prayer times or when I sing in tongues. I think it's beautiful..if you don't speak in tongues please don't condemn yourself, God gives as he sees fit, if you want it though, pray for it. But if you don't have it, don't force it, God has already blessed you with the gifts he wants you to have, identify and put them to use!

Much of what we're taught is how to prove to everyone else that you are indeed a christian. This is then perpetuated by the fact that you're not perfect and when you sin, you guilt yourself into believing that you are indeed not a christian and *gasp* everyone else will find out! So in order to conceal your nastiness you come to church, maybe five times a week, dress up with a smile on your beautiful face and proceed to do the usual. It's religious.

God help me...
I'm not a good person by nature. So I tried playing that game of hide-and-suppress every week except in didn't work. I want to be Christ-like, but in order to be Christ-like, I need to be taken to the threshing floor and allow the chaff in me to be blown away. I would conceal the chaff and store it away, leave it at home or chain it to my body. Either way, it wasn't being blown away, until my Spirit let me know.

There is rubbish in this world and there is rubbish in my human nature. I am filled with it, because of my past, my childhood, heaps of insecurities I have piled up in me and the consequences of acting out these insecurities as well. I was born a sinner, not holy, I never was. I deal with and have always dealt with some of the messed up things in life that would get a Pharisee's ears burning if they heard. There is so much imperfection to be dealt with, sometimes I get overwhelmed. This is where I say 'But Thank God for God!' Honestly though, I thank God for his grace and his mercy. I live by grace, I literally, Live. By. Grace..everyday is God's grace, every single step (I wish I could dramatize this for you) and I still don't know why he chose to love me. I suck at loving him but he cares for me..he wants me to be good, he wants me to trust Him about my being good too, sometimes I see no hope but he tells me to keep trusting. That I'll get there and I will. So will you, we are conforming to the image of Christ, it is happening, relax and let the Spirit do its work. Just don't pretend.

Real Issues...
God has called us to love one another as fellow Christians and in this way the world will know that we are children of God. Love one another, care for one another, speak to one another in grace and look out for one another. I keep thinking if, let's say I get pregnant (I am not pregnant) I can't think of one christian friend that will genuinely continue to love me as a fellow christian. Yes, I should not have sinned, but the deed is done, I would like to think the church will admonish me in grace, lead me to repentance (if I have not already repented) and then help me out with the child. Instead I am sure I will get a lot condemnation, not from God but from fellow Christians like me, who are all under God's grace too. This is not condoning sin, but it's saying if God has forgiven, why not you? who are you not to forgive and forget?

Speaking of premarital sex, I would like to see a church explaining WHY not to go into it. Can we get beyond the 'God says don't, so if you do, you will go to hell' or 'the bible says so'. Honestly, those reasons just don't cut it these days. Let's talk about why God says so: purity, and also how it ties to purity. Let's talk about the emotional dread that follows, the condemnation that keeps you from turning to God, the guilt that follows you around and tags itself to any bad thing that happens to you and the loss of self-value, especially if you're a woman. Let's GET REAL. My boyfriend and I have been listening to this pastor, Andy Stanley, and taken a lot of guidance in our relationship from him about how to live and walk in our lives as Christians because he's honest, not condemnatory, just honest, and he teaches you how to live as a Christian, using biblical concepts. After realizing that it is, in fact, okay for me to be in a relationship, it is not some gross sin (different story), I realized that I have to learn to live the relationship, Godly.

That word Godly, opened up a can of worms, what are the boundaries? how do you deal with crossed boundaries? (yes, we crossed some boundaries) and how do you maintain focus in the relationship. Thank God he loves God like I do and he is patient with me even when I'm not with him and that he is willing to work things out because we're not perfect. We both sin and we work towards being holy together, and it's sad when we don't leave things in God's hands and listen to God's voice. Honestly, there are times when we refuse to listen to God speaking and then we regret it later. We realize that about each other and work on working on that together, so that the relationship in itself can glorify God. We try to let our deeds glorify God, especially our deeds towards each other, and that takes trusting in God and abandoning ourselves to him. Hard stuff. More importantly, we realized that we needed honesty around us and between us. We need to be honest with those around us, we need to hear them be honest with us. We need to live an honest christian life, go to a church where people will be honest with us, because living this life, walking with God is not something you do alone. We quickly realized that a lot of sins could be avoided if we were just open about them.

When Paul talked about confessing our sins one to another, the first time I read that I was like 'what church does this guy go to?' till I realized that he was assuming that we would be walking in love and treating each other with love and having mercy on each other and giving grace to one another, basically having all the Christian attributes we are supposed to have. Then we can create an atmosphere where we can actually confess our sins to each other. Wouldn't it be awesome if we had a community of best friends where we all know each other well, we fend for one another, we protect each other but more importantly, we are open, we shed our masks and are completely naked (not naked-naked) with each other. Maybe a women's group, men's group or a co-ed group, and we all know that our best interests are for each other, we love each other and we will do anything to protect each other from the harm of evil, and we met regularly in this extremely relaxed and Godly setting? How awesome will that be? That's what God wants for us!

So I'm inviting you, I've tried to be honest here, be honest too with your friends and in your community of's easier. It's simpler, it sucks sometimes when people think they're better than you but it's okay because honestly they don't matter. Whatever is going on inside you God sees it and he still loves you, he has started a good work in you to and he will see it till the end.


Post a Comment

©inthequiett. Powered by Blogger.