The trouble with our ideals is that if we live up to all of them, we become impossible to live with. The tilted halo of the saved sinner is worn loosely and with easy grace. We have discovered that the cross accomplished far more than revealing the love of God. — Brennan Manning in The Ragamuffin Gospel
One of the things I find comical is that often people change the way they act when they find out that I'm a pastor. It's like all of a sudden they feel this pressure to "behave." They turn red in embarrassment (or worry) as they try to quickly recall if they said anything that might be deemed out of line or offensive. Relax people. Transformation takes time. It is often called a journey for a reason. I'm on that journey too… the journey of learning to live into my identity as a child of God. But I understand why people feel the pressure around pastors. Hanging around church culture as long as I have, there has been many occasions when I have heard the following statement (or something similar), "IF Jesus died on the cross for you, THEN the least you could do is _______________ (fill in the blank with whatever negative behavior you like.)" But I think there might be a subtle difference worth clarifying. See, the problem with "If… then…" is that it makes it seem like the change in behavior is just something done out of obligation… not something that comes about through transformation. But remember all of our obligations… all that we owe has been paid for by Jesus on the cross. So we don't change our behavior because we are obliged to do so… here's the difference… don't miss this… our behavior changes because we are not who we were before. Before we knew Jesus our identity was wrapped up in the things we have done or the things we are doing… but that is not the case anymore… our identity is found in Jesus… the only way to know who we really are is to know who Jesus is and the more we come to know who Jesus is the more we learn how to live in the Kingdom of God. Our behavior changes from our old way of living because our old way of living no longer really feels like us anymore because we come to realize that our old way of living never really was a reflection of who we were in the first place. We have been transformed… we have been made new… and we can't help living like that is true.