Here's some wise words from a young man who appears to be mature beyond his years. This is from Matt Kleberg over and is posted on Common Grounds Online.
I internalize and cover up my sin and weakness because I fear that any failure on my part implies a failure of Christianity. I must be perfect; otherwise Christianity is just a big flop, exposed as an elaborate hoax. The pressure is on and I must perform so that Christianity looks like a good buy.
This assumption is the exact opposite of the gospel. It is anti-gospel. To say that my failures somehow discredit Christianity completely disregards the cross! What pride and hypocrisy! Out of death we are made alive in Christ and our new identities are not bound up in our own righteousness, but rather the righteousness of Christ. It is by His perfection that we are presented as spotless before the Father. And while the Spirit does begin its healing work on our hearts, it is forever the work of Jesus that makes us children of God. I no longer have to disguise my sin for fear of nullifying the gospel. The gospel, rather, nullifies my sin, and frees me up to live as though transparent. The world can see through me- can see that I am needy and that there is a savior who triumphs over my brokenness.
Meditate on that for awhile. A good deal of the pressure we put on ourselves to perform is because of what he said - any failure on my part will taint the Christian faith as a whole. I think that is only true to the extent that I portray myself as perfect and portray Christianity as a religion whose goal is sinless perfection. This doesn't authorize carelessness about sin but it does reaffirm that Christianity is fundamentally a project of redemption, not a project of self-improvement.
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