Sunday, July 21, 2013

My thanks for this guest post to Ian McNear, student at the University of South Carolina, recently elected to chaplain of his fraternity.

Pain and regret.

We live in America, and we have plenty of time in our lives to devote hours to playing or watching media, play sports, and pursue our hobbies. Yet amongst the riches of our country and the world, people live in a state of depression, regret and pain.

Sin is killing us.

Christians, the very people who are supposed to be most joyous, are some of the ones struggling the most.

Drugs, alcohol abuse, broken relationships, rage, and sexual sin.

As a young man, at twenty-one years of age, I confess to breaking most of the above. Also, as a southerner living in South Carolina, in the U.S., the rule is: “What you do is between you and God.” This mindset so permeates our culture and life, it’s in how we think about God, and how we view other people. We give the illusion we’ve got it all together, and then believe other people’s own illusion. Slipping into a state of depression, we struggle to keep our thoughts straight and Christ-like, meanwhile feeling the whole time like we are failing.

The truth is, we are all failures.

Yet that didn’t stop an almighty, loving God from sending His son Jesus to die on a cross for our sake and take our sin. Christ knew our sin before He came, knew every little detail about our life and actions. We are all sinners, and therefore it should be no surprise that we all sin, right?

So that brings me to question … what are we trying to prove?

As we socialize, as we work, as we go about every aspect of our lives, we are always trying to put on our best faces to keep up the illusion that we have it all together.

We can’t stand on our own.

Christ knew that we couldn’t, knew that we needed help to get through life. That is why He instituted the Church, and it wasn’t to just show up every week and sing a couple of songs.

The Church was and is very clearly defined by the Bible to be a body of believers, one that is supposed to serve and love each other, to the utmost. Be diverse in gifts. Suffer and rejoice together. (1 Corinthians 12)

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16

“Confess your sins one to another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man is powerful in its effect.” – James 5:16

We are not simply encouraged to be in community. We are commanded to be in community, to serve and be served. Community is part of what gives power to a believer.

As we seek community in a body of believers, we can’t be afraid to be humble and admit our sins. Christ was laid naked on the cross and endured its shame and torture.

We can learn to be open with each other about our lives and struggles, in love accepting instruction and correction when necessary.

Christ did not save us to be again enslaved by our lusts and passions, but to be free!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1

Stand free in the knowledge that you aren’t perfect, but Christ loves you enough to save you, and give you people to stand with.

If you don’t have community with believers, find it. It’s a good step in learning to live free.


  1. Many thanks to Ian for this thoughtful, heartfelt post. The message here is so similar to our Sunday School lesson this morning! Blessings, everyone.


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