Recently, a pastor named Tullian Tchividjian was involved in, what turned out to be, a very public break-up between the ministry he leads and another ministry.
Honestly, I don’t know the details… and really don’t care, except that as I was poking around online I came across part of Pastor Tullian’s response in the thick of this public disagreement.
I can’t help reading it over and over… he writes:
“First, I want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry for saying things in my own defense. One of the things that the gospel frees you to do is to never have to bear the burden of defending yourself. Defending the gospel is one thing. But when a defense of the gospel becomes a defense of yourself, you’ve slipped back under “a yoke of slavery.” I slipped last week. I’m an emotional guy. And in my highly charged emotional state, I said some things in haste, both publicly and privately, that I regret. I never want anything I say to be a distraction from the mind-blowing good news of the gospel and last week I did. I got in the way. When you feel the need to respond to criticism, it reveals how much you’ve built your identity on being right. I’m an idolater and that came out last week. Because Jesus won for you, you’re free to lose…and last week I fought to win. I’m sorry you had to see that. Lord have mercy…”
The Gospel frees you to never have to bear the burden of defending yourself…
When you feel you need to respond to criticism it reveals how much you’ve built your identity on being right…
I find those statements so shocking I haven’t even gotten around to figuring out if I believe them or not. Not in the sense of “are these statements ‘true’ or ‘false’” this isn’t a quiz after all. I mean believing in the Biblical sense…
…do I live this?
Am I a prisoner to the “burden of defending myself”? Truth be told I’m indefensible. There is nothing worth defending in me. Of course, I still try, mainly because I think I hold Truth but that’s absurd. I don’t hold Truth… I can’t!
It’s too big for me!
Truth has got a hold of me!
That should be enough to free me from the need to defend myself. Truth is the only defense… and Truth has me!
Think about it this way. The worse accusation that can be leveled against me is a mirror. That is, to see myself truly… to truly see self. But to truly see self is to see Truth… Truth has me… the same Truth that sets me free.
It must drive the enemy nuts!
…unless of course we fall into the trap of trying to defend ourselves… the indefensible.
Like I said, I’m still working it through….