Last week, a friend and I were out when the topic of dating non-Christians came up. My challenge to my “single” friend was to date someone with similar perspectives because people rarely change, and the expectation of change puts undue pressure on a relationship. My friend asked, “Really, people don’t change? Aren’t you supposed to believe people can change as a pastor?” I was feeling proud and on a roll (I get like this sometimes) so the truth of his words didn’t sink in for a few days. He was right. We have to believe people can change. I do believe people should be equally yoked in a relationship but this was something different, this was my own hard heart towards others.
About the time I was wrestling with my own failings with this situation, another friend challenged me Tues night. You see, the girl he was dating didn’t feel welcomed and cared for as she met some of us at a restaurant a few months back. The truth was that I was so busy being a friend (in my mind) by being defensive and protective of who he dated, that I couldn’t express joy and the love of Christ to the woman he had already selected. Unfortunately I came across as aloof and unwelcoming. Luckily my friend loves me enough to honestly challenge me with the truth of her experience. I was trying to be wise or discerning but all I really came off as was judgemental and cold. (I get like this sometimes).
Yesterday as I was pondering some of my character flaws, I heard the words of Pastor Richard that he is delivering via video at Bethany North this weekend. In teaching on Moses and prayer, Richard reminded that God looks down and says ‘You aren’t going to be seen as perfect Moses.’ Richard continued, “If you are a leader, your credibility comes not from creating an image of perfection. Credibility comes from allowing people to see int0 your heart so that there is an ongoing story of transformation. It is the transformation that gives credibility, not the hypocritical image of perfection.” I almost fell off my feet. He is right. As a leader, my call isn’t to perfection, it is in continuing to be vulnerable.
As I just learned from my friends, I have some things to work on. I don’t have the answers. And I’m not perfect. Richard continues, “The sooner we get there (leaning on honesty and not perfection), the sooner we begin to see that it is the ongoing story of transformation and healing that shows the reality of the resurrected Jesus to be confirmed in our lives. We’re free to stop pretending we have arrived. To stop pretending we don’t have doubts. It is in our authenticity that Jesus can be seen.”
The point? Vulnerability is okay. Transparency is healthy.
Maybe a motto should be, I’m not okay, you’re not okay but praise God, Jesus is. The sooner we get there, the sooner we will be transformed. Our hope is not found in our own strength, but God works through our weakness for His own glory.
My prayer this morning: “God- shape me in my doubts and unbelief- reveal my blind spots and character weaknesses. Transform me for Your Glory. I will follow you. Amen.”