Wednesday, April 6, 2016

I Wish I Didn't Know

It's happened several times.  I've talked with good friends who became leaders in various churches and found themselves disappointed as a result of it.  They've all told me basically the same thing:  "Man, I wish I didn't know the things I've learned about people behind the scenes in church.  It's just disappointing.  I'd rather be in the dark and clueless." 

I can totally understand where my friends are coming from.  There would be something wrong if they delighted in seeing the dark side of people.  Frankly, I'm a little encouraged that they would prefer not to know about the faults and flaws of others.  That says something good about my friends.

But the fact remains, this will happen to all of us.  Inevitably, we will see, hear, and learn unflattering things about people.  And we will wish we didn't know these things.

What should we do when this happens?

[1]  Let it serve as a reminder that nobody is perfect.  Everyone has flaws, quirks, and failures in their lives.  Regardless of who it is, there will be something wrong with everyone you and I meet.  Because of this, we should never put anyone high up on a pedestal.  We must keep in mind that even the greatest Christian on Earth (whoever that is) is still just a broken sinner saved by grace.  The sooner we accept this truth about people, the less we will be shocked by what we see and hear.

[2]  Let it serve as a reminder that we too are imperfect.  The past few years, I've started dealing more with my own failures and focusing less on others' flaws.  Regardless of what I see other people do, I realize I too am an imperfect man who is needy of God's forgiveness and mercy.  Whoever said it was right:  Whenever we point our index finger at someone in judgment, we have three fingers pointing right back at us.  Because of this, let's stay humble and never get cocky when others fail. 

[3]  Let it serve as an opportunity to minister to hurting people.  When we see someone's life falling apart, we can either gossip about them with pride in our hearts, or we can privately pray for them with loving concern for their well-being.  We can look down our nose at them, or we can carefully and humbly offer to help them.  We can kick them to the curb, or we can gently seek to restore them. 

[4]  Let it serve as a reminder that God is good . We're all at least a little messed up.  Every single one of us.  I am.  And so are you.  But the good news is this:  God loves us, pursues us, hangs in there with us, and continues to work with us anyway.  He gets to work on us and He continues this work as long as there is breath in our bodies.  I'm sure glad God does this!!

It's just a part of life.  We will see, hear, and learn negative things about people.  But rather than let it get us down and tempt us to withdraw from folks, we can embrace it for what it is:  A valuable reminder of how needy we all are, and how awesome God is!

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