The Josh Duggar thing. Gah. I’m in that sad place of being horrified, but not entirely surprised.
Back when I first admitted to my friends that I was considering faith in Jesus (picture me tiptoeing carefully into some of the most awkward conversations of my life), one friend asked, “But aren’t you bothered by all the hypocrisy and scandals?”
I didn’t know what to say. Was I bothered? No, I realized. Not really. But why?
It took awhile, but finally it dawned on me: I’m not bothered by the hypocrisy and scandals because of God. God takes care of these things. Again and again, He makes good on the promise in the Bible that every hidden thing will be revealed, and every secret will be made known. Jesus spent the better part of three years talking about light that overcomes darkness. I’ve seen this happen again and again. (It usually takes WAY LONGER than I think it should, but that’s another topic…)
I’m always surprised by how God does not seem to care about the positions and power we believe are so important. Based on recent history, it doesn’t seem to matter if someone is the head of a major Christian entertainment conglomerate, or a world famous television evangelist, or the elected leader of all the Evangelicals…or the oldest son of arguably the most well-known Christian family in the world. If there is darkness, God brings it to light. He doesn’t seem to care about the “cost” to His plan to save us (which is, by the way, the primary reason we Christians hide the sins of our leaders – we believe God’s plan to save us depends these huge platforms we build to spread His Good News. Thankfully, we’re wrong.)
I count on God to do this so I don’t have to. I can let down my guard and stop policing the world for hypocrisy. Because it’s everywhere. Even here in my study as I type these words.
We Christians are the worst part of Christianity. We always have been. We’re prideful, judgmental, manipulative, selfish, and mean. We’re addicted to all sorts of things we tell other people not to do. We’re gluttonous to a level that defies comprehension. We handle this in different ways. Some of us are in denominations that encourage us to pretend to be perfect, others of us are part of groups where the in-thing is to pretend to be humble and contrite. It’s all crap, most of the time.
Until you meet someone who has REALLY F*cked up, and then REALLY been forgiven. That’s what following Jesus is about. The rest is just background noise.
Sometimes I wonder if our messy, annoying Christian hypocrisy is what best qualifies us to show Jesus’s amazing work in the world. We’re not meant to be perfect examples of exemplary living. We’re more like samples of how powerful Jesus is, as we live lives that might occasionally prompt you to think, “Wow…Trish was a total train wreck for YEARS, but now she’s…well…less of a train wreck.” And in that, maybe find some hope to grab on to when the gap between “total train wreck” & “less of a train wreck” feels too big to bridge alone.
From now on, when you meet a Christian, think of this: Before you stands a person SO PATHETIC, he or she has thrown their lot in with the only spiritual leader whose primary tenant is FORGIVENESS. That’s pitiful. But it’s also powerful. Look to see if it’s made a difference. Then maybe pray for Josh Duggar (and me, and the rest of us struggling hypocrites) for strength to hold onto that center. It’s a good center.