Pastor Confesses to Online Temptations
by Pete Wilson
John Stott once said:
My main concern for the church everywhere is that we often do not look like what we are talking about. We make great claims for Christ, but there is often a credibility gap between our words and our actions.
No where is this more true than the church’s claims of authentic community. We love to throw the “authentic community” words around, but rarely are we willing to live with the risks associated to create such environments.
Most Christians I know are chained to their fears of being found out. However, you need to know, for every fear you accept in your life there is always a corresponding consequence. The damaging consequence of this fear is that our churches are full of people running around hiding their sin, their addiction, their doubts and their hurts. We’ve learned that this kind of secret behavior is not only allowed, it’s actually rewarded.
I love it when Jon Acuff talks about “the gift of going second.” When you go first and admit the sin, the junk, and all the crap in your life, you give others a gift, allowing them to follow you. It’s always easier to go second.
I think those of us who have been placed in positions of leadership in the church have got to “go first,” creating environments where people feel free to bring their junk into the context of community, where they can find grace and healing.
So, let me go first today.
Last week I was doing some research for a message online when I stumbled on a pop-up ad that was very enticing. All I had to do was click on the image and I knew it would take me to a place where I could escape the current writing pressures I was facing.
For more than a minute I sat there debating whether to click or not. There was a war raging in my mind. I would go from praying for strength to trying to justify what I wanted to do. In the end, I didn’t click.
You know why?
However, I’m still disappointed in myself. I want to get to the place where I don’t click, not because I’m afraid I’m going to get caught, but because I don’t desire to go there: I don’t desire it because I know what that junk does to my soul. I know how it destroys intimacy in my marriage. I know how it keeps me from growing in Christ-likeness.
I want to not want.
That’s a glimpse into the darkness that can raise its ugly face in my heart from time to time.
So there you go. I went first today. Where do you need to go first in order to encourage others to bring their sin into the context of community, where they can experience grace and healing? What do you think we need to do in the church to back up our claims of authentic community?
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