Confessions of A Great Pretender

Keith KettenringChristian Living, Church, Motley Christian, PassionsLeave a Comment

For a few weeks I’ve been struggling with anger and shame. I am angry with myself because I’m so freakin’ obsessed with looking good spiritually and physically before others. I am angry at the condition of the modern evangelical church as I read about stupid, ego-driven pastors leading unaware and superficial people.

The struggle becomes more intense as I reflect on Jesus who models real humility and yet does not condemn others in their sin while being able to discern true unrighteousness in the lives of others. Of course, I am not Jesus in spite of how little or much I want to be like Him. This is one area where I’d really like to be more like Him.

I am ashamed that after all these years of claiming to be a Christian, I am still battling my ludicrous self-righteousness and judgmentalism. I’ll be honest, like a silly Pharisee, I work hard to look good in front of others. My ego can hardly take it if I’m not recognized for being a prayer warrior and spiritual guru. It’s even worse when people go to others for help in the very areas where I am an “expert.” Good God!! I’m a mess.

I need to repent, crying out for God’s mercy.

All Christians are actors to some degree. We want to look good in front of others. It’s important that people know we go to church and are saved, that we are trying to be godly (or know how already), that we know our Bible, and that we help others. After all, Jesus taught us that when people see our good works they’ll glorify God in heaven. Yea. right! It’s more about putting on a good show so people won’t dig deeper and see that we’re shallow and messed up inside.

This struggle reminds me of the Platters’ big hit, The Great PretenderRead the lyrics then listen to them. Pretty convicting – “too real is this feeling of make believe…I seem to be what I’m not.” Ouch!!

Oh yes I’m the great pretender
Pretending that I’m doing well
My need is such I pretend too much
I’m lonely but no one can tell 

Oh yes I’m the great pretender
Adrift in a world of my own
I play the game but to my real shame
You’ve left me to dream all alone

Too real is this feeling of make believe
Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal

Yes I’m the great pretender
Just laughing and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I’m not you see
I’m wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you’re still around

Too real is this feeling of make believe

Too real when I feel what my heart can’t conceal

Oh yes I’m the great pretender
Just laughing and gay like a clown
I seem to be what I’m not you see
I’m wearing my heart like a crown
Pretending that you’re still around

Songwriters: Buck Ram

The Great Pretender lyrics © Peermusic Publishing

This is what’s got me all wound up. I just finished reading some articles about high-profile church leaders who have left their “successful” ministries due to affairs, addictions, moral failures, and secret sins. Fully aware that I’m one decision short of plummeting into moral abyss myself, this kind of thing angers me.

There are thousands of outstanding Christian leaders who struggle but recognize their frailty. But, when the “mighty” fall you have to wonder how they could have been so blind to their own sin. You also wonder how Joe and Julie Christian could be so blind to the reality of who this person really was.

I’m afraid we wouldn’t know true humility and repentance if it bit us in the rear end. The superficiality of it all absolutely astounds me. Character, inner life, and meekness don’t matter as long as a ministry is growing and people’s lives are being changed. Good grief! Satan, as an angel of light, can change lives.

Are we ready to admit that we’ve been duped by the success of others, deceived by their charisma, and charmed by their persuasions? Can we see that modern Christianity is a stage where actors “seem to be what they’re not?” Can we accept the reality that we are “adrift in a world all our own?” This kind of Christian is not real.

God’s REALITY is joyously and satisfyingly found in the Beatitudes not in modern-day notions of success. Blessed are…the poor in spirit…those who mourn…the meek…those who hunger and thirst after righteousness…the merciful…the pure in heart…the peacemakers…those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake…those who are reviled and persecuted on account of Jesus. Is your “godly leader” like that? Do you know if  he/she is even struggling to be like that?

Are you?

Sadly, we are encouraged to put on false masks of security, trust, and happiness. We suppose this is the way to be a good testimony in front of others. In reality, it only makes us pretenders.

We’ll never strip ourselves of these masks in our lifetime. But we can struggle in recognizing our stupidity and sin, by humbly learning repentance, and by constantly turning back to a merciful Father.

I don’t like the struggle any more than you do. But it’s what we’ve got. Embrace it. Don’t let anyone (including yourself) fool you otherwise.

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