I am a sinner. This much is obvious to me, and probably to regular perusers of this blog, but now it is also obvious to my church. You see the other day I gave a notice in church. Yes that’s right folks, it’s all out in the open now! Did I mention that I did so while wearing a flat cap? And that I wore a short sleeve shirt revealing my small less than one-year old wrist tattoo?
Now I didn’t find out about my sin right away mind you. In fact I didn’t hear directly about it at all. No no no. I found out because somebody was so annoyed that they complained to somebody else, and then that got back to me. The joys of community.
When I left my job in the police I prayed that I would learn to handle conflict in the Christian realm much more effectively. I didn’t feel my police taught methods would be appropriate in the church setting although I certainly gained confidence in the arena of conflict. It appears when you pray to improve your character, you don’t instantly get your wish, but rather plenty of opportunities to practice. So the last two years have involved me having to man up and speak to people face to face more than ever before. But they also involved something else – more of me coming face to face with my own flaws than ever before too – usually by others pointing them out.
This latest episode first angered me, then saddened me with a little bit of perplexity sprinkled throughout. I was first angry at why someone wouldn’t just come and speak to me, then saddened by the same fact before wondering if I wasn’t actually as approachable as I always thought. And if I am to have the privilege of speaking into others lives then I must allow others the same privilege for me whether I think them right or wrong. Especially if I think them wrong.
So I have a plan. If someone tells me I shouldn’t wear my hat in church, or asks how I justify a tattoo, I’m not gonna ask them why none of the women at church wear hats, I am not going to ask them how they have the gall to shave their sideburns. I won’t tell them that they have condemned the innocent because they have not learnt what it means that God desires mercy not sacrifice. I won’t point out that there is a dying world that doesn’t care about hats and tattoos but desperately needs Jesus. Instead I will thank them for their courage in speaking up, and we will go from there. And next week I will get a tattoo…
of a hat on my forehead.
Luke 6:42 (emphasis mine) ‘How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.’