Monday, June 6, 2016

Your Sh*t Doesn't Stink?


Last night I watched a movie called Ragamuffin which is the story of Christian musician Rich Mullins. The movie was real which means it didn't gloss over the sins that Rich struggled with. The movie showed him smoking cigarettes and getting drunk. There was a time in my life not long ago when those things would have been enough for me to write him off as a Christian.

A friend of mine made this comment about the movie: "His music was amazing but this movie brings out a side that he needed serious counseling and discipleship?"

My dad had an expression he used to describe people who think a little too much of themselves: "They think their sh*t doesn't stink."

So Rich did need help in his life; he probably knew that. But what about us when we look at the reality of his life but fail to apply the same judgment to ourselves?

One of the themes the movie presented very well was how Christians go around with masks on, acting like we are perfect. We pretend we are okay or at least more okay than the person we think needs counseling and discipleship. We judge Rich for smoking and getting drunk (which maybe we should) but minimize our own arrogance, pride, selfishness, self-centeredness, greed, gluttony, sloth, lies, etc. Somehow we think our stuff is not as bad as the other guy. Rich may have turned to alcohol to numb the pain of his life but what about what we turn to? Food, work, hobbies, pets, TV, movies, isoloation, we all have something; some things just seem more acceptable than others. What do you do when you are anxious or afraid? What do you do when you are lonely? What do you do when you are angry? What mask do you reach for?

The real problem with this is that we don't get the help we need. We pretend we are okay or are afraid to tell the truth about ourselves. Our secrets destroy us.

Most of the time we are blind to our own faults. If we had real authentic community we could see the truth about ourselves and tell the truth about ourselves But for the most part we don't. We play the game of confessing things like being grouchy on occasion or being a little impatient with our kids. Do you have someone who tells you the truth? If they tell you that you are a very godly person then they are probably afraid to tell you the real truth.

Each one of us is broken in some serious ways and we all stink - present tense! Or do you think you are perfect? Because if you are not perfect then the little crap you do is just as bad as the big crap someone else does. It all misses the mark and is therefore sin.

I have become less judgmental about others as I have become more judgmental about myself. I am not soft on sin, I've just become more focused on mine rather than other people's.  I have become more aware of the big and small crap in my life. I also have given up on self-improvement. I don't make promises to change. I can't do it myself. I recognize that Jesus is the vine and I am a branch. Apart from him I can do nothing. I do the work to be connected to him and change comes, change that I can't take credit for; change that seems slow to come much of the time.

I highly recommend the movie Ragamuffin. If you let it, it can help you see yourself in a different light and maybe others as well.

Philip

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