My husband John embodies many godly qualities, and his commitment to obeying God’s Word has made a dramatic impact on my attitudes and behaviors. I hope I grow up to be like him. He has no idea of how the Lord uses him to mold me into a Christian who lives increasingly in purity.
If you’re honest, you’ll have to admit that my last paragraph aroused your curiosity, and you secretly hope I’ll write a nice, juicy expose parading his deep dark sins. Actually, as our culture more and more celebrates “transparency,” we come to expect wives to complain about their husbands, adult children to talk about the mistakes of their parents and workers to gripe about their bosses. And Christians may sincerely believe that, in revealing the “unvarnished truth” about others, they protect themselves from idolizing that person. Or, more accurately, from the appearance of idolizing that person.
By extension, we can also practice “discernment” by gossiping about Christian celebrities. Yes, some false teachers definitely must be called out by name. Those who twist Scripture into man-centered teachings that lead people to a Jesus of their own making absolutely must be exposed for the charlatans they are!
It seems to me that something deep in sinful human nature finds pleasure in discovering the sins of other people. Maybe that’s why over 400 people to date have clicked on my article about Lysa TerKeurst, but only seven have bothered with the one on the Reformation and Galatians. Evangelicals flock to the smell of fresh blood.
Our ability to “objectively critique” Christian celebrities, our pastors or even our own husbands assures us that we aren’t idolizing mere men. How our friends admire our evident discernment! How they praise our objectivity! Yet, in truth, all we’ve really done is spread gossip and damaged the reputation of a genuine brother in Christ in order to bolster our own reputations. Ladies, this sort of thing is the furthest thing from Biblical discernment.
I’d rather run the risk of people judging me for idolizing my husband than sin against him and the Lord by disrespecting him. If anything, I need to show greater respect for John, both publicly and privately. Thankfully, John’s love for Christ and his pattern of obedience to Scripture provide me with enough raw material to keep me from dwelling on his flaws. The same goes for my pastor and for Christian celebrities that (as best they can) teach sound doctrine. After all, I’m too busy owning up to all the ways the Lord needs to deal with me!