This problem of the self-righteous with their condemnation is not only prevalent in the Christian church leadership of pastors & elders, but also among so called “christian” counselors & therapists. Though the reality is that all truth is Gods truth; He is the author of both secular truth & Biblical Truth. Frankly, I have seen more true GRACE by those in secular counseling, therapy, and recovery settings … which is a sad testament to those who try to “save” others.
The foundation’s of ministry, & the gospel is about restoration, grace, mercy, forgiveness, & love, etc. These same fundamental tenants undergird the counseling, psychology, & therapy professional communities. Mainly, that all people are capable of change, (even IF their nature is inherently ‘bad’ or ‘good’), all people worthy of love and belonging, and no situation beyond the hope of restoration. Just ask the marriage saved from the brink of divorce, or the addict successful in recovery…
However, Christian leaders, counselors, & therapists too often contradict these fundamental tenants of their profession & their beliefs, when by their own discomfort they choose to project a rationalization, blame, or diagnosis that makes them “justified” to remain in their judgmental condemnation. These people show up on your worst day with words of judgment, shame, and condemnation; instead of running towards (like the prodigal’s father did…) they run away. Instead of Living Wholehearted they are nothing more than self righteous Pharisee’s, hiding behind their position, title, or credentials.
Dear Christian leader, pastor, counselor or therapist: you cannot make your living espousing hope, grace, love, forgiveness, etc … and then also refuse to apply those same principles in relationship because you are triggered in your own discomfort. You then are a Pharisee & a hypocrite when you cover your judgment in nothing more than image management, & self protection, rationalizing the blame you shift to another with false theological or psychological justifications. In your misguided view, either the person who has “fallen” and betrayed your sensibilities is either, “a so called brother” and not really a believer (see 1 Cor. 5:11) if you’re using incorrect theology to hold your fellow christian in condemnation. Or if you’re using your misapplied psychological & counseling knowledge you label the fallen as “oppositional,” “conflictual,” or better yet “they must have a personality disorder.”
We tend to vilify what we do not understand. However more so, in these situations, those who project the worst are doing so to cover their own backside out of fear that their sins will be discovered as well. The very same christian pastors and counselors who confessed their sins of pornography use, beating their wives, alcohol addictions, etc, were the quickest to condemn and distance themselves on my worst day. You talk out of both sides of your mouth when you state you “love” or are “for” your friend and then malign, slander, gossip, judge them and their family.
The grace of God will always violate mans sense of justice. You will know who your friends are, by who shows up on your worst day and validates that you are still loved and worth more than the mis-steps and negative choices you have made. Only those that have truly experienced brokenness, are equipped to dispense real grace, and help other walk in Wholeness.
[originally posted as a comment on my friend Ted Haggard’s blog…]