What if someone defined your whole family based upon one member? They would probably get a pretty skewed picture of who your family is, right?
If you defined my whole family by my older brother, you would think we all were branding geniuses and technology gurus. You might approach me asking me to help develop your organizations brand… you would be severely disappointed with me.
Then there’s my younger brother, he has cooked in a number of the fanciest kitchens in our city. If you saw pictures of the food he makes and then assumed I could cook like that, your taste buds would be angry with you.
Obviously, my family might have common characteristics or beliefs but we are not the same. We have faced different challenges and we have responded to those challenges differently.
Yet, we are slow to recognize this reality in movements.
Outliers are more interesting, so in movements the outliers get the loudest voice.
The problem is, this has been catastrophic for the Church.
One of the most damaging realities for the body of Christ today is that believers interpret one perspective as reality.
There are some Pastors that own multimillion-dollar homes, but they are not the majority. The reality is, “Pastor making below average salary” is just not an interesting news story – so the outliers get the loudest voice.
There are ignorant Pastors that have spoken hatefully about specific people groups, but there are also heartfelt Pastors who have sacrificed their jobs and given their lives for the civil rights of groups they might not even identify with.
The thinking goes: I don’t see hope so hope cannot exist. I don’t see character, so it’s not worth trying.
The problem is it begins a cycle.
We give up on being people of character, on being people of hope and abandon ourselves to a half-hearted Christianity that only makes sense if you don’t think about it or abandon our faith altogether.
Listen, please, hear me out. You and I cannot give up hope.
I get it. Leaders have betrayed your trust and caused deep wounds – heck maybe I’ve betrayed your trust (please reach out if I have, I would like the opportunity to apologize).
But that can’t stop me – and please don’t let that stop you.
You and Jesus can have a personal relationship – no one’s screw-ups have authority over your decision to follow Christ. Only you do. Only you get to choose to follow Jesus and only you get to choose to walk away from him.
Life may suck. People may treat you like – poorly. Yet, you can still follow Christ.
It’s up to you to be someone that is not blinded by what others deemed interesting, but to seek out the bigger story so that you can see clearly.
I think that many of us are still looking for Jesus in human form or trying to be other people’s savior.
We lean into frustration and discontentment with leaders and ourselves instead of choosing to participate in the greater work that Christ said would be done through the power of the Holy Spirit that is alive in you and I.
You and I – broken people restored through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross were created in God’s imagine and have the capacity to do incredible things.
The decision to follow Christ, the decision to invest in the Kingdom, the decision to be led by the Holy Spirit is a personal decision – it’s yours and yours alone.
This is not an excuse for the corrupt, but you and I refusing to allow the corrupt to become our excuse. Don’t let someone else’s selfishness keep you from living your life in light of the love demonstrated on the cross.
You wouldn’t define my whole family based on one of my brothers, so don’t define the church by just a few leaders.
Seek out other voices.
See a bigger picture.
See hope - the love poured out by Christ for you and I and the personal relationship we can have that no man has authority over.
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Thanks for reading! - Brandon Maddux