Nearly every day you can turn on the television and see ugly, over-the-top, perverse, wicked and strange behavior. A new series coming out is about a hip-looking guy who fell in love (so far so good). But he kept falling in love, married, then married a bunch more times and is now in the process of welcoming his fifteenth child into the world and starring in his new show. And they call this "reality TV?"
Many would say that television execs might be to blame. But let's be clear, they only put on TV what we are willing to watch. Another way of saying this is a quote I read recently, "If there is darkness around us, the problem is not with the darkness, it's with the light." Profound.
To take this one step further, to be able to turn on the TV and see those who call themselves Christians behaving badly really grieves me. I have a little game I sometimes play. "It's called, "Turn the TV onto a Christian channel and see how long I can watch it before I get nauseated." Now don't get me wrong, there are some really great pastors, churches, and worship that are inspiring and well worth watching. But if I have to listen to one more televangelist cry into the camera and ask for my money so that I can get a double portion of blessing, I may have to get rid of my TV. Well, wait, that may be too harsh. Remember Jeff, the TV is not the problem.
And yet to watch a small-town preacher get a week's worth of international attention by saying he was going to have a good, old-fashioned Qu'ran burning, causes one to ask themselves, "Do I really want to be a Christian if that's what it's about?" I sit there and can only imagine what those considering the Christian faith must be thinking. But wait!
Brennan Manning, in his classic Ragamuffin Gospel says, "Our huffing and puffing to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our pettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat denial of the gospel of grace."
You see, we are all incapable of getting it right. We all behave badly at times. That includes the TV evangelist, the local preacher, everyone else who darkens the door of the place we call church, and the guy writing this post. When we look at disgust at other Christians who don't act like us, we are, in a sense, saying, "I've got it, and you don't." And that, my friend, is a dangerous place to hang out.
Manning shares, "Jesus comes not for the super-spiritual, but for the wobbly and the weak-need who know they don't have it all together." The sooner we embrace that truth, the closer we will come to understanding grace.
Be blessed and be a blessing today.