Sunday, November 15, 2015

Well, That's Embarrassing...

There was a British comedy show on the BBC in England that eventually made it to the States via PBS. I have always enjoyed British humor. The Monty Python crew were among the funniest in some respects, but their show is not the one I am talking about.

"Keeping Up Appearances" was primarily about a British middle class woman and her husband and extended family. Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'Bouquet' as she was always reminding people) was very class conscious. She wanted people to believe that she was middle class through and through, but the truth was that she was from lower class stock. She had a sister that was married to a bookie,  another sister married to a permanently unemployed lower class man and a third sister that was not married and was always the "other woman" in her love relationships. The latter two lived in the same house in a poor part of town with their 90 year old father who was also Hyacinth's father.

Hyacinth was continually trying to deny her roots, and maintain her British middle class veneer and also maintain a relationship with her extended family. She wanted to move up in the world. She was trying to maintain the appearance of something she was not and her lower class family was always bringing her back to reality. Try as she might, she was not able to keep up appearances. Comedy would always ensue.

Unfortunately, this kind of 'situation comedy' takes place in real lives everyday. I am of the opinion that we in the church are among the worst offenders. We never talk about where we have been in our walk with the Lord. We never talk about the daily trials we experience and we certainly never talk about our sin. 'Never' may be to precise a word. Let me call it most of the time.

We are the Body of Christ. We have a responsibility to keep the Body healthy. We cannot do that if we do not know each other's struggles. We are always quick to celebrate the victories, but when we fail, the only way our brethren know about it is if it lands us in the newspaper or on the news.

Why is this? Well, we like to keep up appearances don't we? In our pride and in our shame and embarrassment we want to hide our failures, our sins and the temptations that plague us each day. We want to look good.

"Nothing to see here. Just move along".

We worry about how things will look to others, to our families and other associates, but we never stop to think that actually talking about things like this might bring healing, self forgiveness and accountability. When we behave this way, the result is a festering of spiritual disease that can actually shorten your life. It's a good possibility that the cycles of temptation and sin will continue. Whatever it is will continue to happen again and again.

What's the answer?

We need to climb out of our spiritual graves, admit to ourselves that we are not righteous and seek help from the brethren and the Lord.

"Well yes" you say, "but what will they say? What will they think? I will lose face! It's all so embarrassing".

Well, maybe.

So what?

Do you love Jesus? Do you want to live that joyful life you keep singing about and hearing about in sermons?

The only way we will have any victory with these things is to be open and honest about who we are with each other. We need to know each other the way Jesus knows us. Then together with Him we can move forward to create a functioning, healthy Body that functions properly inside and associates well with others on the outside.

You say that we should not air our dirty laundry in public. I say bring it to church and we will help you wash it clean.

In our pride, our fear of embarrassment and in our sense of self righteousness, we will not admit we are weak and that we need each others' love and support.

How will we ever be able to overcome these things if we do not work together to rid ourselves of them?

We need transparency people. We need to love each other, confess to each other and forgive each other. We need to submit to each other and receive healing.

Finally there is the person that says, "well, I am a very private person. I see no reason to burden others with my life issues, not that I have any. I see no reason to share these things. They are not encouraging, they are ugly and they make me uncomfortable talking about them and I do not want to hear others talk about their problems. It makes me squirm out of my seat"

What is the source of your discomfort you silly rabbit? Could it be that it bends your pride all out of shape? Get over yourself and be who you are. Jesus knows who you are. Do you think you've been tricking Him?

That sounded self righteous. I'm trying to get over that, but in my defense, I have been wearing my life issues on my sleeve of late too.

We can help each other with the brokeness. It can get better. We will be more like family and less like Sunday acquaintances that share coffee in the church lobby and talk about the news or politics. Authentic life is possible. Small talk can be our starter kit, but we need to go deeper with each other.

I think I'm done. I love you. Let's talk.      

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