“When Christ comes, everyone will know everything that you have kept hidden. It will all be brought to light.”
“When Christ returns, everyone will know your internet browsing history. We will all know how many sexual partners you’ve had. We will all know what you do in the privacy of your own home. We will all know what you would prefer to keep hidden.”
“Christ’s second coming will be filled with people who are ashamed of what they kept secret.”
These are some examples of things I have heard associated with Christ’s Second Coming. In fact, I used to hear these statements so much that I actually prayed that God would never make Jesus return. I used to be terrified of the Resurrection. That was until I realized something significant.
Confession. It does the soul good.
We preach it.
We teach it.
We advocate it.
We push small groups.
AA does it well.
CR does it well.
People who are involved with anything like that will tell you that they started living life whenever they could finally get a heavy burden off their chest.
It does not exist for obvious reasons:
Who would want a minister who has been involved in an affair?
Who would want a children’s volunteer who used to steal from the offering plate?
Who would want to be in a small group with a guy who struggles with porn?
Who would want to leave their children with someone who is a closet alcoholic?
Who would want to sit next to someone in church that doesn’t necessarily agree with all this “God-stuff?”
Most people would say “yes” to these questions. Most of us would say “the grace of God covers everything.” We all believe in second chances. We can talk about it all day long. But when we’re faced with it, now that is a whole different issue. When someone comes to us and confesses something, we begin to act differently around them.
We act like we don’t drink around the struggling alcoholic.
We are careful about what movies we watch with the person who struggles with porn.
We don’t talk about money around the person who used to steal from the offering plate.
We shy away from the issue of divorce with a person who has actually been through divorce.
Whenever someone confesses something, we immediately begin behaving differently. There is something that clicks in our brain. We become more aware of jokes, things we might say, places we might go, things we might do, what we might watch, etc. And when we do all of this, we begin alienating the person who confessed something. The confessor is alienated to a point where he/she wishes he/she had not confessed it at all. So he/she begins to hide it again.
It’s a cycle. I’m sure many of us have been through it. We trusted someone with an intimate detail of our life and that person told everyone. So instead we keep everything secret. Confession may be good for the soul, but it is only good if it does not cause your notoriety.
Then we begin to hear sermons about Christ returning and everything being brought to light. We get scared. Jesus please don’t come back. Please don’t bring to light what I do. But don’t we naturally want things brought to light? When we sin, we become more and more careless about covering up that sin. Suddenly, we are caught. Isn’t it a relief when sin is no longer secret? It is until people begin acting differently around you…
I write about this because I want us to move toward genuine community: community that is nonjudgmental and does not behave differently once it finds out about something. The reason so many of us fear the Resurrection is because we have a wrong view of what community looks like. When what is done in darkness is brought to light, it is a relief. It is a weight off of our shoulders. In a good community, there is no condemnation from anyone. In a good community, they do not behave differently.
Unfortunately, we have many bad communities that scare people into keeping things hidden. Then we preach messages about sin being brought into light (way out of context). Wouldn’t it be easier to convince people that the Resurrection won’t be terrifying if we started living in genuine community today?
I used to be scared of the Resurrection. That is because I never knew what genuine community looked like. I thought that when Christ came and brought my sins into light, people would judge me in Heaven (eternity is a long time to constantly be given the stank eye). When I found genuine community I became excited about the Resurrection.