I’ve never met a perfect family. My family is at the head of the line for imperfection. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve tried to be the perfect family. We’ve tried to present ourselves as having it all together. After all, I am a pastor. And now I am the “Pastor of Family Faith” at a large suburban church. If that’s not pressure to have a perfect family, I don’t know what is.
Well, we’re not, and neither are you.
Do you remember this scene from Pixar’s The Incredible’s? Can you see any part of yourself in this scene?
I wish my connection to this scene was that I had a superpower. Unfortunately, it is not. The all-too-familiar part of the scene is when there is a knock on the door and the whole family rushes back to “first positions” and strikes the perfect family pose.
I wonder how many times we do that when we walk into the church as a family.
Our story in worship this week is found in John 3:1-21. Jesus has a conversation with a religious leader named Nicodemus who is not able to see the Kingdom of God. Nicodemus was a Pharisee and was looking to make Israel perfect through obedience to the Law of Moses. He thought that if the nation could perfectly obey God’s Law, then God would deliver them from the cruel oppression of the Roman Empire.
Jesus told Nicodemus that he was using the wrong eyes. He needed a reboot. He needed to be able to see the world through fresh eyes that had been cleansed by God’s water and filled with God’s Spirit of life.
The section that really grabs me comes at the end of the passage. What is required to see clearly? Light. Jesus brought the light of God’s love to the world. The light exposes the truth of who people are.
Here’s what I think God wants to say to your family right now, based on how I read this passage. Step into the light. God is not shining the light to expose all your failures so that God can condemn you and discard you. God invites you and your family to step into the light and be exposed.
That is terrifying, isn’t it?
Yet, when we can be honest about who we are and the struggles we face, we can begin to live in the freedom of truthfulness. When we believe/trust that God loves us and is for us, and we step into the light of truthfulness, then, and only then, can we begin the journey of healing and wholeness.
Evil, Jesus says, hides in the dark. The shame of our imperfection compels us to hide from God and each other. The longer we hide in the shadows, the longer our imperfections will fester and cause more and more problems.
What would it be like if we had the courage to trust in God’s love and simply be honest with God, ourselves, and each other about how imperfect we really are. We need each other.
May you step into the light with fresh eyes this week, warts and all.