Our recent spiritual life survey revealed that a significant number of us in church have unresolved and unhealed wounds. Similarly, a significant number are struggling with addictions and unconfessed and hidden sins. When the survey was analyzed based on age groups, it revealed that one out of two youths and young adults among us are struggling with the above issues.
The statistic is consistent with reports of churches in developed countries. What troubles me is that many of us seem to be bearing it all alone in silence. It saddens my heart to think that many of us may be coming to church putting on a brave front when our inner world is actually collapsing. I lament if we have unknowingly projected an image that this is a no-nonsense church, where there is no room for doubters and strugglers, where only the pure and mature are received and accepted. I ask myself if we have been a grace community.
I have a dream. I dream that our church will be one without masks. A church that affirms and celebrates God’s design, yet confesses that each of us have fallen short of the glory of God. I dream that we will be a community that views sin as it is, nothing less and nothing more.
I dream that we will be a church where members who struggle with pain, bitterness, doubts, addictions, identity confusion, etc., are united not by ignoring or compromising sin, but by gathering at the foot of the Cross as sinners forgiven and cleansed by the blood of the Lamb.
As your pastor, let me be the first to be found at the Cross. At our church camp’s men’s night in December last year and our SG men’s night in May this year, I took the risk and confessed my past struggles with sexual identity and addictions. My intention of doing this is to lead by example, in removing my mask and unveiling my scars in the grace community of Christ. I want to believe that as God’s redeemed people, we can be naked and unashamed once again.
Will you join me at the foot of the Cross? If you are struggling with sins and wounds, will you meet me at the Cross? I want to assure you that you will not be despised or rejected. Please connect with me, the elders or pastoral staff of the church, we want to walk alongside with you. Take heart, you are not alone in your struggle against sin.
A platform has also been set up for brothers to be able to come together to practice confession, receive forgiveness, and experience restoration. This is a call to brothers who are struggling with addictions (such as gaming, gambling, alcohol, smoking, masturbation or pornography) and/or sexual identity confusion. You are invited to come to this At-the-Cross monthly gathering. Please contact me for more details.
Let us grow to become a safe and authentic community that dismisses shame in the light of God’s unconditional love and ushers in love and acceptance in the light of God’s absolute truth. May all who are broken by sin find a warm and welcoming refuge where they can find rest for their souls. May we all discover the liberating and healing grace of Christ in our community.
By Rick Toh, Lead Pastor (YCKC Bulletin 2&3 August 2014)