Maybe it’s just me, but have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize holiness often lack openness and honesty? Have you ever noticed that Christians who heavily emphasize openness and honesty often lack holiness?
One church seems to be filled with people who seem to have it all together, but who never bear the burdens of others or share their own. They keep to themselves, play the part, and mind their own business.
Another church is open, friendly, inviting, and ‘real,’ but never takes holiness too seriously. “Rawness” is elevated above righteousness.
Openness and Holiness—are they friends or enemies?
On January 26, 2020, our world was shocked to hear of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. He was just 41 years old. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also killed in the crash. Our hearts sink just thinking about the family members still alive that are affected by this. I was personally moved, because I can understand a little of the pain they are going through. I lost my brother, sister-in-law, and their unborn baby girl to a bus crash that happened right in front of me. It was a tragedy that seemed to sap the vitality of life right out of me. All of this tragedy has left many people asking the same age-old question that man has been asking:
I’m sure you know the tragic story of Joshua Harris: a respected Christian author, a pastor for 17 years, and a leading voice for sexual purity in the Christian community, who left his wife, left his faith, and left Jesus.
It was a shocking moment for many, especially those who had been impacted by his writing and preaching. It was shocking to me. It made me question some things: how do we know if someone is truly saved? If it’s true that “you shall know them by their fruits,” how do I know which fruits are fraudulent and which ones are genuine?
It seemed like such an odd detail. In a list praising Abraham for being willing to sacrifice his son, Moses for giving up a life of luxurious living, and Noah for building a boat and saving all of humanity, the statement about Jacob really stood out to me. “By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff” (Hebrews 11:21). I was preaching through Hebrews 11 when I first paid attention to that verse and was confused by the statement. What in the world did leaning on a staff have to do with faith?
Merriam-Webster defines the word reckless as “marked by lack of proper caution; careless of consequences.”
A while back, I got into a small (and probably unnecessary) online debate on whether or not God’s love should be described as reckless. While one can make a fair argument that it can be used as a poetic expression to describe how God’s radical love appears to us, I would venture to guess that most Christians believe that God isn’t actually reckless in his love, especially if we’re defining it as “marked by lack of proper caution; careless of consequences.” God is the all-sovereign, all-knowing God who knows the end from the beginning. Recklessness is impossible for him.
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