Warning, bubble bursting, thoroughly raw post commencing now…read no further if you by some chance hold us Farrens in some undeserved place of sainthood. (Which if you do, this should help adjust that a bit).
My truly amazing daughter Madison and I got into a spectacular fight this last Saturday. And If you know the Farrens at all, you know that we are a very passionate clan…we love big, and we fight big. And to be fair, this test of wills did not ensue over some small frivolous matter. No, this “ruin a whole day miserable” episode was wrapped around the intricacies and responsibilities of adulthood, or more to my very loudly made point, the lack thereof.
The reality is I could not be more proud of Madison, who is 21 this July, and lives almost an hour away about to start her Senior year of college. She’s a bonafide rockstar in my book, but even still, some things just need to be said right?!
Of course as with any epic fight, it escalated quickly, and lasted longer than it should have. I was right, (yep, still sticking to my guns on that) but my delivery was less than desirable. There may or may not have been some slamming of fist on tables, and through a litany of now regretted words I finally had the last word…but at a heavy emotional cost to us both.
But here is the real kicker, of all the weekends for this to happen, it just so happens that this was the weekend Madison and I were scheduled to lead worship together the following Sunday morning…oh the maddening mystery of Divine timing.
We did not speak the rest of the day after this episode, and due to a party we were both attending that evening she ended up spending the night and riding with me to church. It was a somber start of a morning to say the least.
As we were walking across the parking lot into the church, I asked Madison why we would still show up to lead worship even after having such a crappy weekend, and she replied quickly, “Because He is still worthy of our worship”. Well said daughter, well said.
But as we continued into the building, her response got me thinking about something in a completely different way. Even after all my years of leading worship, knowing full well that it has nothing to do with my worth or perfection, I will admit to still wrestling the question of hypocrisy every time I step onto the stage in a broken or messy state of being.
But it’s not just a worship pastor problem. I would make a very unscientific yet experienced observation that roughly half of all attendees walk into church on any given Sunday feeling more or less hypocritical. But prompted by the Holy Spirit, just before the second service started I actually read for maybe the first time the actual Webster’s definition of a hypocrite. Here goes…Hypocrite: “a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs”. And just like that, for the first time I truly got it.
Week after week I stand and declare that God is great and worthy of all of my adoration and praise. Sunday after Sunday, I passionately exhort almost 600 other people to join me in that refrain. And showing up and continuing to sing about His greatness even after a really rough weekend is the one thing keeping me from being a hypocrite…because for me to keep silent or stay away would most certainly classify me by the definition of “a person who claims or pretends to have certain beliefs about what is right but who behaves in a way that disagrees with those beliefs”. If He was worthy of praise last Sunday, He’s still worthy of it this Sunday, in spite of me. His love and affection for me has never wavered, and so neither should my response to it. My belief in who He is remains the same. Declaring the greatness of our God in our times of greatest brokenness and mess does not make us hypocrites…it makes us believers!
Harsh as it may sound, for the first time ever I now see that there are way more hypocrites at home on Sunday than are sitting in the pews. And I’d rather stand with my hands raised next to messy, broken, yet hope filled people, than become a hypocrite. I refuse to let the enemy blackmail me with his lies and accusations…if we have placed our belief in the goodness and kindness of the one true God, let’s stop behaving in a way that disagrees with that belief.
Show up. And not just on Sunday, but every day. Make the enemy eat his words.Take back your God given righteousness. Stand on your brokenness and lift an even louder praise…no longer bridled by guilt or shame…we are hypocrites no more!
(originally posted at AllAboutWorship.com)
Michael Farren serves as the worship pastor at Gateway Franklin & leads AllAboutWorship. An award winning songwriter, & Integrity Music artist, Michael got his artistic breakthrough as the writer of “Let it Rain“, & the lead singer of Pocket Full of Rocks. Follow more of his thoughts at AllAboutWorship.com.