A Tale of Two Preachers

TTP

Once upon a time, there were two preachers. Each preacher had a church member, who was struggling with depression, come to them for counsel. [1] Preacher 1 told this person all the things that were wrong with being depressed. They told this person that one of the fruits of the spirit is joy and if they didn’t have joy then they must be doing something wrong. They told this person that they needed to repent of their sin of depression. They then gave them a long list of things to do to start not being depressed.

Preacher 2 told this person they were deeply loved. Preacher 2 spent time with this person helping them understand who they are in Jesus. This person was told all that Jesus has done and the life that he offers. Then preacher 2 prayed over this member.

Each preacher had a church member who was struggling with (insert any sin you would like here).

Preacher 1 read all the Bible verses to this person that said this act was a sin. He also made sure to read the ones that talk about the punishment of sin. He made sure this person knew that they needed to stop this sin less they face these punishments. Preacher 1 then gave this person a long list of things to do to stop this sin and start living the right way.

Preacher 2 told this person they were deeply loved. He spent time with this person helping them understand who they are in Jesus. This person was told all that Jesus has done and the life that he offers. He painted a picture for this person of what life looks like when we experience it the way it was meant to be. He retold this person’s story through the lens of Jesus. Then preacher 2 prayed over this person.

When preacher 1 preaches, he makes sure his sermons are about what things his church needs to STOP doing and what things they need to START doing. He often points out what will happen if they don’t stop and start doing those things. Oddly enough, preacher 1 has a small church of miserable, behaviorally modified members who don’t really understand who they are in Jesus.

When preacher 2 preaches, he preaches on who we are in Christ. He paints a beautiful picture of what the life he intended for us involves. He talks about what it could look like to bring heaven to earth. He preaches on the way that Jesus re-tells all of our stories. He realizes that what we do, flows out of who we are. Oddly enough, preacher 2 has a pretty large church that is healthy. None of the members are perfect, but they sure understand who they are in Jesus and that drastically impacts their behavior and the way they live. Oddly enough, preacher 2 doesn’t have to give long lists about what to do and what not to do. The people have begun to naturally do and not do those things because they now know who they are.

Preacher 1 often quotes John 1:14 to preacher 2. When he does, he really likes to emphasize the AND TRUTH part. Preacher 2 chuckles at the irony of his situation as he thinks about how most of the AND TRUTH from jesus was directed toward self righteous religious leaders. Preacher 1 also likes to bring up the story of the woman caught in adultery. When he does, he really like to emphasize the GO AND LEAVE YOUR LIFE OF SIN part.

At this point, preacher 2 would really like to give a list of things to start and stop doing to preacher 1, but he won’t. He recognizes that preacher 1 doesn’t fully realize who he is in Christ. Preacher 2 knows that if he did, he would realize that Jesus only says that to the woman after he says that he doesn’t condemn her. Oddly enough, the woman never repents, she never asks for forgiveness, she never even indicates a recognition that what she did was wrong or a desire to change. Jesus forgives her anyways. Without repentance. Preacher 1 cannot reconcile that. It’s why he has to emphazie the AND TRUTH part. If only he realized that the AND TRUTH part came after Jesus bathes this woman with an almost irresponsible amount of grace. It’s almost like Jesus knew that real changing power comes when you announce who people are, and you retell their story through the lens of Jesus. It’s almost like Jesus knew that this is what changes behavior, not sermons about behavior modification.

Good thing, this is just a “hypothetical story.”

[1] This is a hypothetical story. Depression is a serious medical issue and if this were a real story, unless preacher 1 and 2 have a master’s level or higher degree with the word counseling in it, they should refer.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s