Twice since we have been in youth ministry our names have come up in criminal investigations.
The best story?
Six months after we bought our first home (in a neighborhood mostly occupied by seniors) a cluster of marijuana plants was found behind our mailboxes. Naturally, the young man (who wears a toque year round, has long hair and a beard) has a huge crop growing in his basement. Adding to the suspicion, was the fact that at that point in our ministry there was many groups of young men in plaid shirts staying with us with giant trailers in the driveway – what else could they be hauling but shipments of weed across the border? There was also boats and strange vehicles coming and going and loud raucous ‘parties’ in our basement. Little did they know that it was Christian rock bands visiting the church and hauling music equipment, games of four on the couch and boats in preparation for camp. None of it was drug induced.
It was good for a laugh back then, that phone call informing us that our names had come up in the investigation. The drug abuse prevention specialist and the youth pastor: the usual suspects.
Now though, I sense it as a warning of things to come. People in this world tend to think the worst of each other. Some of the very best people I know, who in certain situations have acted with the utmost integrity have still been dragged through the mud. It is junk. It makes me crazy.
Equally as dangerous and toxic though, is how sometimes there is a level of idol worship of people in leadership. That is, sometimes people think you are better than you are. Sometimes it messes with your head.
Both are equally false. Trusting either opinion of you will make you crazy. Your identity cannot lay outside of yourself, in anything as easily corrupted as the mind of another.
Your reputation this side of heaven will never be truth. Thankfully the one who judges our hearts knows our intent. Knows our service in the secret place. Knows the whole of the story, knows what you faced to bring you to this day.
So remember, even if you are battered on all sides, GREATER IS HE, whom shall you fear?
Shake it off, your treasures and identity are stored in a much safer place.