Isn't what we call Christianity such a strange thing?
We are to love those who hate us and share our faith with those who are living horrible lives. We all agree that we should be accepting of the outcasts, giving what we can to help the ones who have nothing.
We are all very nice to the unbelievers... until they get saved.
We don't mind if our unsaved friends to curse, but if a member of our youth group lets one slip, we are appalled. We expect the atheist to lie and cheat, but if someone who's been saved for years does it, we can't forgive them.
Don't get me wrong; as believers, we shouldn't be living as those who are not saved. But we definitely judge each other a lot more.
The thing is, we expect each other to be perfect. Since Jesus took our sins away, we shouldn't have any sins. We shouldn't mess up, and we certainly shouldn't mess up more than once.
But that's not how salvation works. Yes, Jesus took away our sins. Yes, He freed us from having to live in constant shame. But that doesn't mean we are sinless here on earth.
We all mess up. A lot. We all have temptations that draw us more than others. The fact that we expect each other to always do right often makes it harder for us to do right. Because who wants to admit to having sinful thoughts if he knows that everyone will think less of him for having them? Nobody wants their friends to gossip about them doing the wrong thing.
So instead of confessing our sins and getting the help we need, we hide them, hoping everyone will see us as the good Christians we all should be. We're scared to open up and be ourselves, because we will just be ridiculed for it.
We love listening to each others' testimonies, how we overcame all the terrible sins in our lives, but, as soon as we're saved, we can't imagine sharing about things we're actually going through right now; or if we do, it is the "trivial" things like "not trusting enough" or "getting distracted during Bible reading." These are the Christian sins, the ones we will admit to. But God forbid we have lustful thoughts or crave some addicting substance anymore.
It hurts me to see so many Christians struggling alone, miserable. God gave us an everlasting joy, freed us from the fear of being judged. But at the same time, we fight our battles against sin so hard, all alone, feeling guilty and beaten down. Satan uses that! He wants us to be discouraged, because that way, we can't be strong people of God.
If only we realized God's love for us. If only we didn’t care about others judging us for our sins. If only we accepted the other person even with his flaws. We could become a strong community. If one of us fell down, the others would lift them up. We could overcome evil with good.
So what should we do?
We should be vulnerable. We should admit to desiring the wrong things. Admit stumbling and having sinful thoughts. Yes, it will be terrifying. But someone has to take the first step. We need to cultivate a community that lifts up instead of judges. We need to be loving even when the other person messes up. Imagine how strong the Christian community would be if we all encouraged each other, if we didn’t feel like we had to deal with our sins alone.
Because the truth is we all have things we’d like to hide, sins we aren’t proud of. None of us are better than the next person. Let’s help each other. Let's go to God together. Let’s become an encouraging, supportive community.