You are sitting in church listening to your Rabbi teach. In the room there are several new and young mothers. Somewhere a baby starts making small noises. The mom becomes embarrassed and tries anything that she can do to quiet her child. After five minutes the baby calms down; the mother is still embarrassed but calms down and tries to focus on the teaching.
Ten minutes later a different baby who had been perfectly content just starts screaming. Immediately the flustered mother rushes out of the sanctuary and takes it to a different room and tries to calm the baby down.
If you have gone to church this is not an uncommon sight. This happens to EVERY mother who chooses to keep thier child in the service. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. It is just a part of life.
Recently, I witnessed this. I have spent some time pondering this concept.
When I attend/observe the Christian culture as a whole, I see many struggling but few talking about it. Whether the struggle is within (anxiety, depression, etc.), with work (work bullies, loss of job, finances, etc.), family (divorce, struggles with family, taking care of an elderly parent), or sin! I see smiling faces on Sunday mornings (figuratively; I go to Shabbat on Friday), but hearts are desperately needing help. Typically, the more conservative the congregation is, the more plastered on smiles there are. Why do Christians do this?
I believe it is because we became uncomfortable with sharing that we need help, especially with sin! When it comes to sin we don’t want to admit that we struggle with a particular sin. Even though all of us struggle with sin in some form! I don’t know about you, but I don’t know one person who doesn’t struggle with something.
In fact, in the book of James this is addressed. James 5:16 says:
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.
The prayer of a rigous person is powerful and affective.”
I don’t understand why many members at Church are not open about sin. To me, it is worrisome and alarming. Because if we are not open about our problems, how willing will a visitor, who is deeply struggling, be open to searching for Yeshua’s redemptive grace? Church is not for those who have everything together. It’s for those who don’t have everything together!
Now you may be wondering where I am going with the baby analogy that I started with. The screaming baby is extremely similar to the sinners in the church. Our sin starts to make some noise and we get embarrassed about it and so we leave. Sometimes we come back, and sometimes we leave. We feel as though everyone is watching when most of time others are not because We are self-conscious about it.
With the second baby it is similar to being caught in sin. We don’t think that anyone will ever know. Then…We get get caught in a big way. For a previous period of time our struggle is not visibly apparent. Then when you least expect it, G-d decides that this on- going sin has gone on long enough and you are exposed. You are exposed to the church and you may keep going to church but instead go to a different one where no one knows you.
I’m not saying to go up to alter of the church confess every sin that you have ever done to your church. Though I do challenge you to find someone who looks as though they are struggling and minister to them. Share your testimony and struggles with them, pray with them, and form a godly friendship. Create a Church culture of openness and boldness. Instead of privacy and meekness.
“As it is written, none is righteous not even one” ~ Romans 3:10