Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. ~ I Peter 2:1
READING: Luke 12:1-3
I grew up in an extended family of “professional Christians” including missionaries, pastors and church planters. From an early age it was drilled into me that congregants would put their leaders on a pedestal, expecting them to model every spiritual virtue to perfection. I was told more than once to foster this impression, and, if I fell, to hide that weakness or sinfulness from the folks “out there.” To make matters worse, my one and only seminary class on “how to be a good pastor’s wife” used a book by a well-regarded pastor’s wife who echoed the same advice!
Although some of my family members were truly godly and well-intended, my closest role models were deeply dysfunctional and used that flawed rationale to cover up gross iniquity.
Needless to say, I went into my first church anxious and stressed, with my defenses high, all primed to be just as big a hypocrite as my worst role models. It was pretty miserable and enforced an artificial barrier between me and the women in our early church plants.
Over time, God helped me tackle the dysfunction of my childhood, and as I found true healing and mind renewal I resolved that I would deliberately climb down off that pedestal and live to the best of my ability without guile or hypocrisy. It was a wobbly transition figuring out what portion of my journey of faith is rightly private.
But my conscious decision to reject hypocrisy has paid wonderful dividends. It has encouraged our church women to lower their own masks. Nowadays, if I notice someone putting me on a pedestal, I chuckle, promptly confess to her my latest spiritual pratfall, and welcome her as a fellow-traveler.
Only Jesus deserves the pedestal.
Jesus, Help me serve You with unfeigned simplicity. Amen.
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