It is incredibly confusing to folks when what we say does not match with what we actually do. Of course, we are all inconsistent at times. But you know what I mean! If you are a pastor and you talk about prostitution as a sin (in practically every sermon you preach) but get caught in a hotel room with a prostitute and it turns out you have spent $50,000.00 of your church’s money on prostitutes over the course of your career — that’s a problem.
If on the other hand, you behave like a human — desiring to love Jesus and others and respect yourself and messing that up in a variety of ways on a regular basis, well, that’s human. When you mess up, after a bit of defensiveness maybe, a time or two of blaming others, if eventually you start talking about how you messed up and what you are responsible for and how you plan on making amends — again, you are not only a human but you are practicing believing in the sacred act of humility and repentance. Who wouldn’t want to belong to a tribe that lives like this? I think there are some hints about belief and belonging in these two illustrations.
Before we get to that, let’s take a few moments and consider when we have personally acted in ways that seem to contradict our beliefs. What did we do? How did we feel? What were we thinking? Did we have a path forward? Was it littered with shame? Was it restorative?
If we are going to be part of a faith community, these are important questions to ask because they will define in many ways our faith experience during times of crisis. Whether we are community members or leaders — these questions will impact our capacity to love humans and participate in their healing.