The Cover up in the Church Culture
After the fall of the first couple, people are obsessed with covering not just their sins, but even small imperfections. The problem is not only with not coming to God “as we are”, but playing it “cool” and pretending to be perfect in front of others.
There are two extremes. The first one is to brag about our sins, creating the mood that “we all sin, so it is not a big deal.” If we look at sin the way God does, it would be something so disgusting, that we would wish we never had. There would be no desire to boast about our recent or former wrongdoings.
But there is another extreme. When we, being humans, are covering even smallest our mistakes, slightest imperfections presenting ourselves as though we are absolutely perfect and without blemish. I am not talking about our stand in Christ, cleansed by His blood before God. But I am talking about our imperfect nature that tries to look like the perfect God. Along with wearing our best clothes to church we are putting on our “I am a perfect dad”, “I am perfect wife”, etc. costumes too.
What are the consequences of this behavior?
- The lie is not just making up something that didn’t happen, but presenting half of the picture. The Bible presents it’s heroes “as they were” with their struggles, faithfulness, obedience and mistakes. I think the main reason of showing the full picture about the Bible’s heroes is not because we can learn something from them, but because God cannot lie by skipping the mistakes of His beloved heroes. It is not because He doesn’t love them, or He gave up on them, (remember He called them “friend”, “man after My heart”,) but it is the full truth. His friends, His “guys” weren’t perfect.
- But of course there is practical aspect too. It gives hope. When a churchgoer, or a preacher shares about how he/ she made mistake, went through difficulties and how he overcame it, it gives hope, it inspires. When someone shares past struggles, people don’t think, “oh, well I can sin too”, but rather, “wow, I am not the only one person in the whole universe that has this problem, and God hasn’t give up on me. There is still hope for me, I should fight.”
- Many people need help from the outside. But a person who is living in sin cannot help; yet the one who created an image of the “perfect and spiritual guy” won’t be asked for advice either. People expect the “perfect guy” to react with “oh, do you really have this problem?”
- Being real means being vulnerable. Sharing even about our smallest mistakes means that we will lose respect from some “perfect people”, others can use it against us, or use it not as a lesson, but just to have a pleasure of discussing details of it. Yet, I believe there is an overwhelming blessing for the body of Christ in leaders and common people who are real.
Of course there are some rules on what to say, when to say it, and how to say it, so we will not talk about other people in our stories, or share details that are not important, etc.
Few rules that I think important to consider:
- Don’t talk about others, unless you have permission or it is already public.
- Consider consequences for your family and kids.
- Do mutual benefits overweigh personal loses?
- The bottom line of sharing is the purpose, the goal. Is it going to help someone? Or it is just to talk about ourselves, make yourself a center of attention?
- Is my story giving hope and showing the solution?
Those rules are to consider a single case, but should not prevent us from sharing about our mistakes in general.