Most of you are aware of the acronym “TMI.” If not it stands for “too much information.” Young and old alike use it to let someone know that they are sharing more than their audience cares to hear or know. A similar phrase that people use is “over share.” I interpret this to mean that there is a boundary that people establish regarding what they are willing to know about someone else and what they don’t want to know.
In Christian circles we talk about authenticity – it’s our most recent buzz word so to speak. We challenge each other to live an authentic Christian life which opens us up for accountability and critique, especially from those who love to use the label “hypocrite!” News flash – broken people striving to please God will have moments of triumph and failure. Hypocrite is a label every single one of us wears at different times regardless of belief, faith or creed. My evidence: any person who has ever begun a sentence with the words “I would NEVER…or I ALWAYS…” – they will eventually be a hypocrite. Just saying.
So somewhere in between the need to download everything you know or have experienced about the amazing God who creates, redeems and sustains AND our inability to live according to the ideal truth of Jesus’ teaching is the bridge called “faith.” Researchers like Barna and others tell us that skeptics push back against pushy Christians simply because our TMI approach to God comes across as judgmental. By our words and actions we set ourselves up as someone whose salvation gives us the power, authority, or calling to point out everyone else’s faults, failures and sins. This is the starting point for our evangelism conversations and by beginning there, we seldom if ever get people passed feeling judged by us and the Church of Jesus Christ. I would propose that we need to start somewhere else!
What we need to cultivate is an acute awareness of our own desperation for God. The Psalmist painted a picture of this with these words “As a deer pants for water, so my soul longs for you.” The world has the ability to suck the grace of God out of our lives and parch our souls. Our task isn’t to live out the perfect truths that Jesus taught – they are ideals that we cannot achieve because we are flawed, cracked, and broken creatures. Ideal truth living slips through our fingers like water that we attempt to scoop and hold on to. What we can hold on to is the over abundant grace of God through Jesus Christ that fills the gap of our desperation. Oh and is also meant for every person – there is the starting point.
Sharing the relevance of faith begins with the other person and their story, not with the heavy hammer of God’s truth and wrath. I believe that our task is to simply point people to whether the path is that will lead them across the bridge of faith into God’s loving grace. If you really want to share too much of something, try sharing too much grace.