Peer pressure is something not only high school students battle. There are social pressures present within every single culture and/or subculture. There are social pressures at your office, in your neighborhood, and even in the church. However, all social pressures are not evil.
If you live in our community of Katy or you live in another suburban culture somewhere else, you have seen some social pressures that pervade our homes. What I have come to call the suburban facade is the social pressure in our community to project an image of perfection of you and your family. This image is projected through various symbols. It can be projected by our possessions such as houses and cars. It can be projected through our parenting as we push our children to extreme success in an abundance of extra-curricular activities and even academic pursuits. It can be projected through our careers in how much we talk about our busyness and long work hours… since, after all, long hours illustrate our importance, right? It can also be projected through church involvement in our attendance at various church events. There are so many other examples we could discuss.
There are many different strategies, but the goal is simply to paint a picture of ourselves and our families as perfect regardless of the honest reality. I have been reflecting on how this relates to a lifestyle of repentance. We have spent some time recently at Crossings Community talking about repentance. Repentance is a necessary part of gospel transformation. In order to walk in true repentance we must be vulnerable enough to walk in confession.
Confession is not some type of punishment for our sins. Confession is how we participate in the great joys of walking in the grace and forgiveness that was purchased by Jesus on the cross. Do you see the tension between our culture’s values and truly experiencing gospel transformation? If we look at this from our culture’s viewpoint then it is impossible to project perfection and experience the joys of confession and repentance. According to our culture, your facade crumbles if you allow anyone to see the true struggles that exist within your home.
The tireless pursuit of the suburban facade is one of the greatest enemies to the families in our community engaging in a true experience of the gospel. Confession and repentance are a mark of spiritual maturity. Confession and repentance are the evidence of someone who is experiencing the great joys of an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, I would humbly submit to you that we should worry more about those who are not walking in confession than those who are confessing. Rather than judging the person who we see asking for prayer or who is visibly broken by the spirit of God, we should find ourselves lovingly concerned over those who are not. We are all sinners in need of confession. Confession and repentance are practices in which every single follower of Jesus is called to participate.
What if we began to turn our culture’s view of perfection upside down? What if we began to see those who are openly broken and repentant as the ones who truly walk in intimacy with our Savior? What if we removed judgment from confession and became broken over those elevating the facade of perfection over the gift of grace? What if people became so hungry for hopefulness amidst their darkness that they too the risk of engaging in confession and repentance with trusted followers of Jesus?
I understand that this is an enormous challenge for our community and those like it. However, I do not think the gospel can truly take root in a life that is elevating the suburban facade over the joys of gospel transformation.
Would you be willing to share the joys you have experienced through walking in confession and repentance? Or, maybe you have some concerns and anxieties about these disciplines that would be helpful for others to hear?
Matt Powell serves as teaching pastor at Crossings Community Church, a body of believers whose mission is to engage, equip, and empower homes for gospel transformation in Katy, TX.