Contend Earnestly: The Stepford Wife Christian

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Stepford Wife Christian

My mom called me on Friday to let me know of a very sad situation that happened to a couple in their church. A mom and wife, in her late 20's, decided to take a gun to her head. She left behind a husband and four daughters, ages 8,6,2 and 1. She came home from a friends house, put her daughters in their bedrooms and proceeded to go to her bedroom and shoot herself. No note, no goodbyes, just the sound of a gunshot.

I asked my mom why she thought that this happened. My mom told me that this mom was very depressed after her last child was born and although the church was taking food and helping in every physical way they knew how, my mom said that the mom would always say how it seemed as though she was the only one struggling, that all the mothers she knew seemed to have it together and doing just fine. She said that the other mothers said that they were doing "fine" and that "everything was going well" with their children and with motherhood. She thought she was a failure, she thought that God had gone back on his word (1 Cor 10:13) and had given her more than she could handle. So, she gave into the devil and shot herself, thinking it was better to take her own life than take her rage out on her own children.

The alarming thing is that this woman was not alone, but she was in the middle of a bunch of people (I don't know their church so I am assuming here) that lied about their condition. They weren't okay, they weren't doing just fine, but they also weren't willing to open their hearts up to a hurting mother and tell her that she wasn't doing anything wrong, but that motherhood isn't always filled with laughter and joy, it sometimes is filled with great sorrow and pain.

Yes, children are a blessing, but for mothers this isn't always in the forefront of their minds when the child cries all day and nothing seems to comfort them. To a mother this is a showing that they are the problem not motherhood.

What this really opens our eyes to is not this one issue only, but to the biggest issue in the church today: The Stepford Wife Christian.

The Stepford Wife Christian is the one who never has anything that others can pray about for them. The Stepford Wife Christian puts on a smile when they enter church, they never open up, they never show emotion, and they really become a hindrance to what the church and the gospel is supposed to be.

These people seem to think that if you love Jesus that your life is perfect. These same people will cry foul when they hear the "Prosperity Gospel" but what difference is there between them and Joel Osteen if they come to church with their fake grin on their face and the presumption that everything is okay in their closed off world of "love and happiness."

These people then turn the pastor into a superhero of sorts because they expect the pastor to be perfect as well. So, the pastor, instead of being able to be honest as he preaches has to act like he has it all together. That he practices everything that he preaches. That if he doesn't practice everything then he isn't a good shepherd. Guess what...he isn't Jesus. He isn't the one that you ultimately look to, Christ is. The pastor is supposed to direct you to the Christ, not to himself. Are they supposed to be above reproach and the leaders of the church that has been allotted to them? Yes, but this does not equal perfection, but the pointing towards the perfection only found in Christ.

Somehow we have lost this in the church. The church isn't filled with perfect people, even if everyone puts off that persona.

I think this is the biggest problem with today's church. The idea that you are to be perfect and not open up to others. GET OVER YOURSELF. YOU ARE NOT JESUS! You gave him your sin and he gave you his righteousness. This doesn't make you a righteous person, it only is declared that you are righteous by the Father. Big difference. It all comes to a wrong understanding of imputation and justification.

This story above made my heart wrench. It made me deeply saddened. The scary thing is that it is happening every day with people that go to church. They enter and see the Stepford Wife Christians who are all smiles on the outside but empty on the inside. Until we can open up and be honest with each other, we mind as well just be another community group that meets for snacks and cookies and tell each other how well our lives are going. Sometimes I feel like the church is like a high school 10 year reunion every week where we gather together to say how well our lives are, when in reality we are torn up inside looking for answers, looking for reality. When will this stop? How many people need to shoot themselves before we understand that being a Christian doesn't mean pointing people to our "perfect" lives, but pointing people to the only perfect life, the only perfect Saviour: OUR CHRIST. Let me give you some verses to look at today as you start your week and ask yourself, "Who am I supposed to be for others? Perfect? Or a sinner showing other sinners where my hope lies?" I hope you understand it is the latter and not the former. The sad thing is that I think most of the church is in the mindset of the former. Please be praying for this family as they are probably going to be very much in turmoil. Pray for wisdom and strength from the father. He has been a Christian for five years and is also in his late 20's. Pray that the church gathers around him and gives way to just putting their arms around him and pointing him to Christ.

Is anyone among you suffering? Then he must pray. Is anyone cheerful? He is to sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
James 5:13-16

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:21

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;
1 Peter 3:18

Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing.
Acts 19:18-20


Bob Hayton said...

This reminds me of the "Stained Glass Masquerade" song by Casting Crowns. I fear we all have this tendency to be closed up from others. Coming from a fundamentalist background, where one focuses on the externals so much, perhaps it is harder for me to really open up, like I should. The post here, serves as a stark reminder of how important it is to do so. And beyond physical death, spiritual destruction is a far worse thing which we should work to avoid. Opening up and encouraging a strong "one-another" ministry in our churches, and fostering a place for accountability is important.

Thanks for the post,


Steve said...

Excellent and timely post, Seth.

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