After a tragedy, like the death of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein, I am struck with grief. I grieve for his family, his church, and that another life was taken by the crippling power of depression and anxiety.
I also grieve for the church. In the wake of tragedy, it is the people of Jesus who are called to rise up and show the world what love looks like. There have certainly been helpful, beautiful prayers posted and words uttered that speak love in the midst of grief. But I grieve the many unhelpful, judgmental, and ignorant words that have been spoken and written as well.
And so I write this with a repentant heart—as a Christian, as a pastor, and as a person. People are rarely turned off by Christianity because of Jesus…they are turned off because of Christians. And I know I have been guilty of all sorts of unloving behaviours. Share it with your friends, if you too have ever been unhelpful, judgmental, or ignorant. Share it if you have ever said too many words when you should have been quiet. Share it if you have ever not spoken up in the face of injustice, when you should have spoken boldly.
I’m Sorry…A pastor’s plea.
I’m sorry for being proud, arrogant, a know-it-all, impatient, judgmental, unloving, unjust, and hypocritical.
for being unworthy of bearing the name “ambassador.”
for using insider language to a community that is supposed to be open invitation.
for not sharing my own brokenness.
for acting like I am a saint and you are a sinner.
for wearing my Sunday best, while inwardly wasting away.
for not practising what I preach.
for overlooking the plight of the orphan and the widow.
for forgetting the mission of the church.
for saying “no” more than “welcome.”
for being preoccupied with doctrine over love.
for harbouring selfish motives.
for slamming doors instead of carving paths.
for upholding systems that have allowed abuse.
for oversimplifying truth and opting for ignorance.
for overcomplicating truth and making it inaccessible.
for arguing with my brothers and sisters over minutia instead of seeking justice and mercy.
for manipulating scripture to fit my cause.
for not loving my family well.
for trying to “convert” others, when it is the Spirit who changes hearts.
for not sharing the GOOD news when I should have,
for shoving scripture down your throat when I shouldn’t have.
for poorly representing Jesus.
I’m sorry ahead of time for my future falterings.
I need a Saviour.