Ken Newberger, over on Todd Rhoade’s blog, asks a question that has, from him anyway, no pat answers:

For most of us, the idea of someone coming to Christ and confessing a self-gratifying lifestyle is a happy occasion and well received. The repentant person freely acknowledges the error of his or her way. The community of faith welcomes that individual into their fellowship. Indeed, past actions become part of one’s testimony and are called upon to demonstrate the marvelous grace of Jesus which is greater than all our sins – a truth which we must never lose sight of.

However, a change of attitude typically occurs regarding the confession of a sin committed after a person comes to Christ, especially as it pertains to church leaders. Public confession becomes very hard, if seemingly impossible, to do. How can a leader acknowledge any but the most superficial of sins or misdeeds without threatening his or her position? For pastors, it’s a matter of their livelihood.

So what is a church leader to do who privately realizes he or she is falling far short of the mark?

It is a question that is about professional ministerial staff, but I think it goes beyond the church staff and is a question that everyone who professes to be a Christ follower deals with constantly. Before I came to Christ I lived however I wanted and really didn’t think anything about it as long as I wasn’t hurting anybody else. But once I became a Christ follower, I was expected to live a certain way with certain boundaries and criteria. And I find it very difficult to live up to everyone’s standards and goals. If I’m a Christian WHY do I constantly fall short of the mark? And how do I deal with it? I can’t confess my sin(s), my doubts, and my darkness, in front of anyone because then they will know that I am not perfect, that I struggle. Christians aren’t suppose to have problems, we are suppose to live in the light as He is in the light.

The problem is, as my friend T talked about on her blog, that we live in a fallen world. Perfection is impossible to achieve. We are all sinners in need of grace. Don’t shoot me because I’m wounded, help me to heal. We’ve got to feel safe in our relationships, not in our religions. Webster defines relationship as “the relation connecting or binding participants in a relationship: as a : KINSHIP (like sons and daughters of God – vertical relationship, brothers and sisters in Christ – horizontal relationship). It defines religion as “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance, 2 : a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” When we are focused on our “institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices,” we will surely fail, all the time. But when we are focused on our relationships, with God and others, we will finish the race as He intended for us, victorious and perfect. We know this for a fact “because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death” (Romans 8:2).

His peace be on you.