While I have been home recovering from a cold and an injury, I began wondering about some of the Christian heroes from my youth. I ordered the latest book from Joni Eareckson Tada and started reading about her marriage. About her less than perfect marriage. A union that has been strengthened by pain and sacrifice. Then I wondered what became of author Ann Kiemel Anderson. So I Googled her and found her blog. I loved her early books and cheerful attitude. She was the Christian I longed to become. So I was saddened as I read about addiction, death, loss of finances, surgeries and her sister’s illness. My heroes were/are real struggling “Velveteen Rabbit” people.
It’s enough to humble and silence any media Christian. Would my readers be amazed and disappointed at the reality of my housekeeping, parenting, or marriage? Are all Christians to be avoided as nothing but hypocrites? One of my all-time favorite pastors and the man who performed our wedding, always called his congregation “the saints.” And he surely knew that we lived troublesome and sinful lives. Yet, he called us as God sees us. He didn’t expect perfection but he knew grace and mercy. Big sigh.
Not Perfect, But Hopeful
As I read the reactions to some of Ann’s blogs and weighed my own, the real meaning of ministry was enlivened. Most respondents don’t want perfect models and mentors. We need people to show us how to live with pain and problems and still hold on to hope and dreams—to illustrate the need and ways of love, forgiveness, and reconciliation, in flesh and blood.
Our heroes and mentors need prayers and understanding. Sometimes even financial support. Mostly gratitude for any enduring honesty and faith. Because it isn’t easy being a saint. Anything told otherwise is not the truth.
“And we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7, NIV).
Questions for personal journaling or group discussion:
1. How do you respond to the Christian who is discouraged because he/she continues to repeat the same failings or sins?
2. Do you prefer a pastor or group leader who is authentic about their human struggles or do you prefer one with the presence of “victory?” Or can you have both?
Karen Spruill writes from Florida.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.