Cycling is a passion of mine. I love it. Time spent on my Cannondale Synapse Carbon is always worth it.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
I started small. It wasn’t long ago that 10 miles seemed like an eternity and I was happy to average about 11mph. It also wasn’t that easy to get into the sport because the people who were good at it didn’t really make it accessible to others. You see, if you walk into a really nice bike shop and don’t already know what a rear derailleur is and why you need one on your bike then you have a 1 in 2 chance of getting treated like you’re stupid, worthless and generally not a “good match” for cycling. If you can’t ride 70 miles at 18mph then you really shouldn’t join “our ride.” It’s sad too because the people who have the most to offer to someone new to the sport are often the people least likely to offer it.
Eventually I did enough googling to figure out all the bike parts. I was bold enough to ask stupid questions to the cycling lords at the shop and now I am starting to be able to ride longer and faster. But with that ascension into cycling knowledge comes a benefit: I get to be a cycling snob – sweet!
It is amazing that when we become better at a something, we elevate ourselves above everyone else. Be it cycling, music, photography . . .whatever. I guess it is our own insecurities. We all want to be good at something. We all want our unique place in the world. But often we do it at the expense of offering to help someone else stand with us.
But when we do this, we deny our own humanity. Unfortunately this happens all of the time at church. Somehow we have ascended into the upper echelons of God’s grace and those who aren’t in are out . . . and it’s our job to make sure they know it.
The problem with this is that it sends all the wrong messages. It alienates people who need what we have.
The biggest way that we do this is when we fail to talk about our own shortcomings and human failures. We are not super-human. That was only Jesus.
When we give off the vibe that we don’t struggle we communicate 1 of 2 things to others:
1. Guilt: “It is possible to live without any problems so I must not be trying hard enough.”
2. Rejection: “God does not love me as much as he loves him or else we would do the same thing for me.”
So here is a suggestion: Be Human.
Be real enough to offer people an access point to the grace that God has given to you. Trust me, there are plenty of others carrying the “christian snobbery” banner. You are free to be yourself, accept others where they are and help them discover the amazing grace you have found.