My son Jon suspiciously scooted his way toward me while we were playing the card game “Go Fish.” I observed his slight, smooth movements knowing exactly what was happening.
Slowly, he began to lean in. So I looked into his sly eyes and asked, “Jon, is there something I can help you with?”
With a sneaky, smirky smile he said, “Mom, I REALLY want to cheat right now because you have more pairs than me, and I want to win!” We both laughed hysterically; it is a statement our family uses to this day because it is so honest.
What Is This Really About?
Before jumping to conclusions about my stance on cheating or parenting practices, please read on. Our laughter was not about cheating, which is never funny. It was about being absolutely honest and authentic; he said exactly what he was thinking.
Tragically, appropriate truthfulness is missing in most churches today. It seems there is a “Sunday smile,” hiding the reality that life may be more than you can bear.
Like actors, most Christians put on an “I’m-fine” mask, which appears to come with a list of acceptable church behaviors.
Moreover, hang on if you step out of bounds, where the air can be thick with shame, judgment, and rejection . . . and where the gossip mill rolls full steam.
In our greatest moments of pain, whether caused by disability, addiction, divorce, depression, doubting, unwed motherhood, or even simply being lost, we should be able to seek help from the church—where suffering people are supposed to be welcome.
But instead, many people encounter such a damaging reception that they refuse to return. How grieved I am if you have endured such treatment.
Scripture contains many who would be on the “unacceptable” list. Check this out.
- Joshua 2 tells us a prostitute was involved in God’s plan to help Joshua accomplish his call to courage and strength.
- Luke 19 mentions Christ requesting a personal lunch with a hated, cheating tax collector named Zaccheus.
- If we’re going to use labels, Moses was a murderer, David an adulterer, Paul a tormentor, Elijah and Jeremiah sufferers of depression, and Peter a big ol’ bully (if cutting off someone’s ear is considered bullying these days).
Would such people be welcomed in your church or asked out for lunch? Sadly, there was a time in my life when I would have never entertained the thought.
Time for Change
For 18 years now, I have been learning transforming truths from my honest, real, “what you see is what you get” son with disabilities. Here are two foundational principles that can change your life:
- It’s time to take off your mask and toss out your list—judgment will always push people away.
- It’s time to open your arms and welcome those in need—grace will always draw people to Christ.
Let Me Hear from You
I would love to hear your comments on this one question: In what areas of your life are you choosing to toss out your lists, take off a mask, and accept your circumstances with grace?
You can leave a comment by clicking here.