Monday, September 3, 2007

Would we write the Psalms?

Would we? Could we?

Maybe the 23rd Psalm, as it is so nice and acceptable. But what about the ones that are so brutally honest, that express doubts and fears? Would we or could we write those? What would happen if we did? Would our position in the church or amongst Christian friends be diminished? Would people be concerned that we are having a crisis of faith and need to be put on the prayer chain?

We may proclaim that honesty is something we value as Christians but what happens when someone is really honest? How do we view the friend who tells us of their despair or the one who tells us of their struggle with sin? Do we applaud their honesty and embrace them or take a step back?

What would happen if your pastor preached a sermon that expressed the doubts, fears, and despair that David voiced so many times in the Psalms? Could he only preach it if it was wrapped up all nice and he indicated that he was near to feeling those things but summoned his strength and pulled himself out of it?

The psalmist David had a good relationship with God. 1Samuel 13:14 said David was a man after God’s heart. Could that be because of David’s reality with God and others? He sought after God, recognizing his imperfection and wasn’t afraid to admit what was going on in his life to God or others. Perhaps that honesty enabled him to move beyond those feelings rather than stuffing them deep down and acting like everything is okay.

Many of us crave transparency. We want to be known as we really are and are sick of the plastic, protective front. But what is the price – that is what we wonder. I heard a statement on the radio the other day that fits with this: the church needs to be a place where shame meets grace.

May it be so. May each of us lay aside our superior, judgmental attitudes and embrace the honest while gently helping them toward the healing they need. We hold God’s standards with a firm hand, realizing that we are also weak, not hiding our own past or present struggles, being vessels of the grace of God.

It’s coming.

Philip

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