I came across a compelling statement the other day, “God does not need our protection or perfect understanding.”
One of the challenges I’ve faced in ministry is the pressure, external and internal, to protect God. I assumed one of the primary charges of the Christian faith, and ministry in particular, is to conduct PR work for God. It is primarily found in the efforts to explain God in light of life events.
I apparently bought into the premise that God has a fragile ego, and I must protect his image at all costs.
I’m realizing that my efforts to protect God’s reputation are more about me and my own image. I want to prove I’m right and that I’m on the right team.
Therefore, God better look good and right. There better not be any uncomfortable slip-ups in the universe. No embarrassing ambiguities and complexities in theology. No mysteries that we can’t explain and justify.
I can’t afford theological egg on my face.
It’s much clearer now that my efforts to protect God and his public image are much more about my own anxiety. It’s an attempt to protect myself.
In recent years I’ve come to realize that God is quite fine on his own. I’m learning that God is quite capable of standing on his own two feet. He was doing it long before I joined his team. And he’ll be doing it long after I exit this earth.
So, I’ve fired myself from the job of being God’s PR manager.
I’m learning to sit with mystery. I’m more comfortable with unanswerable questions. I don’t have to pretend to like everything that happens in the world–or happens to me, for that matter.
An interesting result has emerged through this process. I find the less I have to defend and protect God, the more room I have to be with others, allow them to be their authentic selves, and love them unconditionally. My sense of self does not rise and fall on whether they agree with me.