I always feel a pang of guilt when I share with my non-Christian friends the times when I have been let down and hurt by my fellow believers. It’s similar to the feeling I had when I finally had to admit to my children that they were correct; Santa isn’t real, nor is the Tooth Fairy, and me in my onesie really is the nearest they will ever get to a unicorn. It’s that feeling you get as you slaughter the magical mystery of a myth, even if they know it to be untrue or make-believe they still like to pretend, but once you voice the reality… then the magic vanishes.
And so, in sharing these disappointments, I’m crushing that infamous magical myth…all Christian believers are better people, or as Mary Poppins so eloquently said, ‘Practically perfect in every way’. To be honest, I’m not sure how my friends can really believe this in the first place. I mean, they know me, they really know me, so how can they possibly believe this myth? It would be great (although incredibly inaccurate) if they thought it was because I emulated Christ-like qualities in all I do. However, I suspect they just think I’m the one that slipped through the net, that all other Christians are pious and perfect and I’m an imposter.
I can’t decide whether we Christians are responsible for perpetuating this myth, I’d like to say not but then I hear their response to my troubles,
‘It just doesn’t seem very…errrm…Christian?’
The guilt and the slight sense of disloyalty I feel does suggest that in some way we like to set ourselves apart, we like to think ourselves better, and we like others to believe it. To admit otherwise upsets the apple-cart on both parts.
But to not admit our failings, or those of others, does God a massive disservice. It implies that we have to be good/perfect to be a believer and that is so far from true. To pretend all is well all of the time allows others to enter into that make-believe world of perfection, a world they feel they can never enter in reality. More importantly, it misses that amazing message that God loves us just as we are (yeah I know, I always think of that scene from Bridget Jones too – and now you will!) and even when we completely balls life up. Luckily I don’t need to be perfect…. my problem is, that means all you others don’t have to be either.