An Observation

Throughout my years in ministry I’ve gotten used to critiques or criticism.   I’ve found some of it helpful.  This past week though I’ve been really wrestling with some criticism I recently received.  After church a man pulled me aside and discussed with me his distaste for my choice of one word and my ‘real’ qualities. He assured me that he believed with time I would become less real.

{What does it mean to be ‘less real’ anyways?  I like who I am. I want to be real.}

I know I’m a sensitive sort but I can handle people who don’t like my sermons or who disagree with my presentation.  This was an attack on me, who I am and my personality.  Being assured that I would someday become something else wasn’t really an assurance to me.  It felt like I wasn’t accepted for who I was.  It felt like I wasn’t good enough.  Like I wouldn’t belong until I became something different.

If we treat each other this way when we’re part of the Christian community, how do outsiders feel?  If we cannot accept each other for what we are, why would others want to attend?

Maybe this is part of our problem.  We want people to be like us.  We want people to conform to our image of what a person should be.   Perhaps we would attract more people if we were real.  If we were authentic representatives of Christ’s love for others in the world.

A journey through Lent: Day 40

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4 responses to “An Observation

  1. That must have really hurt. If we’d just take time to get to know one another instead of analyzing each other and wasting our time pointing out each other’s faults we’d have a much closer-knit Christian community. It’s sad when people feel like their calling is to nit-pick others. BTW, how does he know that you’d become “less real” with time? Only God can know something like that. Because this man cannot see into the future and know the things God will do in your heart tomorrow, the next day and on. The fact is that the more we grow and mature in the Lord the less like “us” we are and the more like “Jesus” we become.

    • Thanks Rosilind. We really do need to stop picking each other apart. We should use that energy to build one another up!

      One of the best parts of Jesus was that he was ‘real’. He lived with people. He ate with people. He experienced joy, anger, life and love while he was with us. In the end we want to be like Jesus and Jesus accepted people for who they were. As a Church we have a tendency to exclude those who make us uncomfortable and this has to stop. Jesus never said minister to those you like, or those you can tolerate. Jesus said go out into the world and share the good news!

      Now I fully accept that my ‘real’ is not like Jesus’ real. I am a work in progress but I was created by God to be the person I am and I have to be okay with that. The comment is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things but it wasn’t my favorite after Church moment by any measure!

  2. less real? ick!

    i wonder if people think they can be so candid/intrusive/critical/hurtful because you are a woman. i have a hard time imagining someone having the audacity to similarly launch into a male pastor …

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