Lord's Day Liturgy

A Cardboard Mirror of Self-Flattery

One reason that people are weird is because they don’t have any good friends. We usually think it’s the other way around; it’s hard to be friends with weird people. And sure, but one way you become less weird is by trying to get along with people.

This isn’t just a lesson for junior high students, this is a reality for humans and a benefit for fellow worshippers in the church.

I remember in my heady days of Bible college, probably still in the cage-stage of Calvinism, days filled with new interest in reading about the glories of doctrine from dead-but-helpful theologians, and full of “important thoughts” to get past small talk with church people. One evening I was at the house of the pastor of the church I was attending, Old Forrest Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, VA, and after the Bible study I was waxing eloquent in my foolishness about not really being sure I was going to get married. I was going to be a pastor. I had “important work” to do.

The pastor said to me, “You need to get married to know how big of a sinner you are.”

There’s no verse that says that. You need God’s Word and God’s Spirit, not a nagging wife. But that’s not what he meant. He meant that when you’re trying to be in fellowship, you find out how much your own sin makes you hard to get along with.

When people say they don’t want to go to church because there are too many hypocrites there, what they mean is that they don’t want to have to deal with their own lack of love, patience, wisdom, and joy toward others. They don’t want to be in fellowship, they want no threat to their cardboard mirror of self-flattery. It’s easy to think higher of yourself if no one else is around to provide a different picture.

If you don’t want to be lonely, confess your sins; if we walk in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).