I love all genres of music. On any given day I can listen to Sinatra, Jay-Z, John Mayer, Johnny Cash, and Hillsong United. Soft rock to hard rock to metal, light jazz to hip-hop, folk and gospel to country. Regardless of the style, there’s one type of music I prefer above all others: acoustic.
More than just acoustic, but completely unplugged. Raw, without enhancements from a studio. When Nirvana did “The Man Who Sold the World” on their MTV Unplugged album, there’s a moment during the song you can hear feedback in the speaker. Was it planned? Of course not. But it was real. When Chris Rice did his piano only hymns album, you can hear in a few different songs the creaks of the piano bench after he plays. Real, uncut music, flaws and all.
This seems to play out in day-to-day life for me as well. I appreciate the “realness” of people. I hated when I was younger people feeling like they needed to change how they were because they knew I was a pastor’s kid. They felt the need to “clean up” their act so to speak.
I’m so thankful Jesus was never like that.
He didn’t want people to put on a mask around Him. He already knew their heart, but He wanted them to be comfortable enough to be real with Him because that’s where life change has to start.
Isaiah 55:1 says this: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, but and eat!" We aren’t told to put on our finest clothes before we come. We aren’t given 12 steps to follow before we come. All we need to be is thirsty.
This idea should be a key component to the church as well: come as you are. Don’t come in pretending your sin doesn’t exist, that you left it at home before you walked in the doors. Come in thirsty, needing a Savior. Come in imperfect, because that’s what you are!
I spoke recently with a friend in ministry who told me how frustrated he sometimes gets at church because he feels that some Sundays he is being “put on a pedestal”, Like he isn’t able to sometimes have a bad day or week. He knows he doesn’t have all the answers, and though he ministers to others, he isn’t perfect. He, just like the rest of us, needs a Savior.
Unplugging yourself isn’t easy. I struggle doing it myself. But knowing Christ isn’t looking for a front to please people is reassuring. The church needs to be the same. Every time we wave a judgmental finger at someone else in the church, we strip away the grace of Christ that the outside world is looking for from God’s people. If we’re willing to eat our own, then a sinner without knowledge of Christ doesn’t stand a chance.