I couldn’t believe my eyes. Had this pastor lost his mind? Were my eyes and ears playing tricks on me? Had he really changed? “This this was great news,” I thought to myself, “but how about all the people that he previously hurt by his actions?” Would he apologize to them now that his stance changed? Or would he just pretend as if something never happened? What started off as excitement, on my part, soon turned into anger and bitterness. With each rewind, of my memories reel, I replayed the moments where I witnessed the public shaming of many loved ones, as they faced some of the darkest moments in life. “They deserve an apology!,” I thought to myself. “And furthermore, it needs to be a public one,” I demanded.
I shamelessly sat festering in this mindset for several days. However, in the midst of my childish meltdown, the Holy Spirit began to minister to my heart. It wasn’t long before I began to realize that, I too, was guilty of doing the things that were frustrating me. It’s almost as is if, while out shopping at the mall, I found myself face to face with a full-length mirror only to realize that I was a complete mess. My hair was disheveled, my clothes were dirty, and something was hanging from my nose. At that moment I knew that I had no other choice than to hold myself to the same standard that I’ve been holding others to.
What you find below is my confession to a bundle of personal practices that have caused many pain and heartache. So here it goes……
- I confess that I have not appreciated the masterpiece that God has created me to be. In doing so, I put on an “Oscar-worthy-performance” in an attempt to gain the approval of people who never truly accepted me.
- I confess that I played-the-part and tried to build a name for myself. In doing so, not only was I a liar, but I minimized the Kingdom of God, and unsuccessfully attempted to built my own kingdom.
- I confess that I’ve been guilty of assimilating people into church culture instead of presenting them the gospel of Jesus Christ. In doing so, I transferred a spirit of spiritual famine rather than a spirit of abundance. People have left looking for more, simply because they were not fed.
- I confess that I have sought to convince others to conform into a likeness of my approval instead of encouraging them to be like Jesus. In doing so, I denied them opportunity to shine the beauty of Christ like they were created to do.
- I confess that I’ve been more concerned with behavior modification than with lasting healing that accompanies a genuine encounter with the Living God. In doing so, I led people to follow a list of rules rather than following the footsteps of Christ.
- I confess that I have a tendency to evaluate spiritual and emotional health on the basis of church attendance. In doing so, I haven’t provided the spiritual support that many needed. With no accountability, love, and care, many have been left shipwrecked in deep waters.
- I confess that I have a tendency to judge people on their appearance instead of by what is in their heart. In doing so, I have wrongly elevated people who were needing guidance, and I have pushed people with potential aside, simply because they did not “look” promising to me.
- I confess that I’ve been more concerned with filling service positions within the church than I have been concerned about teaching others how to serve their families. In doing so, I left many children and spouses without the love and support that they so desperately needed. Perhaps, I should also confess that my unbalanced zeal, to advance the Kingdom of God, has been the source of contention found in many homes.
- I confess that I’ve been more concerned with the repentance of others, than with my own personal repentance. In doing so, I have distanced myself from the body of Christ and have created an imaginary boundary between myself and God.
- I confess that I have privately desired to see others be shamed, while I have held on to the covering of Jesus found in the gospel of grace. By doing this I have minimized the power of the gospel to a personal experience, when the gospel is the story of a God who came to save the world.
- I confess that I have not held my own sins to the same standard that I’ve held others to. In doing so, I justified and made excuses for my ungodly behavior. I have hurt the people that I loved and that God gave to me to care for. There is no excuse for this.
So where do I go from here?
What do you do when you realize that you’ve done wrong?
Thankfully, I’ve now surrounded myself with a tribe of people who lovingly hold me accountable to pursue to the path of Jesus.
The path towards Jesus involves daily repentance. Repentance, simply put, is a decision to move forward in another direction.
With that in mind, I am choosing to do the following…..
- I choose to appreciate the man that God created me to be. I choose to care for his spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.
- I choose to represent and build the Kingdom of God. I also choose to renounce any personal pursuit that is not in alignment with Kingdom principles.
- I choose to love people as they are. My mission is to point them to Jesus and nothing else.
- I choose to tell the story of Jesus over and over again. My voice will tell his story above any other.
- I choose to concern myself with a person’s heart above their appearance and behavior.
- I choose to let, those whom God places under my care, know that they are known, loved, cared for, and discipled through my actions.
- I choose to prioritize teaching others how to invite the power, love, and grace of Jesus into their lives above compelling them to participate in church sponsored activities.
- I choose to love people in spite of their imperfections. I choose love over judgement
- I choose to remain accountable and vulnerable to God and the tribe that he has placed around me.
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