There comes a point where the truth will come out. It’s a universal truth as well as a biblical one. One of the interesting things about being a Christian is the paradoxes. Things like being a living sacrifice, first being last and vice versa, and just about everything that comes with being a follower of Christ. There’s one more that isn’t a good thing; being called to spread the Truth but somehow unable to be honest with our kinfolk in the faith. The Body of Christ is very guilty of the crime of gassing people up.
What does it mean to “gas someone up?” In the urban context this saying speaks to inflating someone’s ego or instigating by giving undeserved and unwarranted compliments or praise. While thinking of what it meant to gas someone up, I was hit with another analogy. Have you ever smelled gas? If you smell it too long it can have you feeling funny and seeing illusions and such. I think a lot of people have been “smelling the gas” but I don’t know if it’s their fault? Well who is to blame then? I submit that the blame falls on those who have been pumping it in the room ever since we memorized our first Bible verse: the fault lies with the Body.
It seems as if everyone is open to criticism except when you are doing something for the Lord, and I don’t know where that came from. Maybe it’s the fact that so many seem critical of the Faith or are leaving the Church that we are excited when someone shows the slightest interest in doing something for the Lord? This sets us up for failure because the bar is so low that we esteem anyone who is doing anything positive. Quality still matters even if there are few people involved in something. Matter of fact, the fact there is a deficiency in number of people engaged in a culture makes quality even more important. Don’t gas people, tell them the truth, you are setting them up to fail if you withhold critique from them.
I firmly believe that almost everyone has fallen victim to gassing or they themselves did the gassing. It’s as bad as telling your friend who couldn’t hold a note if it was taped to their hands, that they are ready for American Idol or The Voice. You know good and well that your friend is going to embarrass themselves, but you still feel compelled to encourage them. I submit that you are not being a true friend if you condone something like that. I don’t know where the idea that you can’t critique and criticize those in the church came from, because that’s certainly not biblical.
The Bible, especially the New Testament, emphasizes critical observation and telling the truth. But the fact is many times we are lying to ourselves and each other. Jesus didn’t gas anyone up, if anything he was probably too real. So much so that His disciples said that it was a hard teaching. Those who came to Jesus and thought they had it all figured out, or were righteous, often left crestfallen and borderline heartbroken. When Peter asked how many times to forgive, Jesus gave him an answer that was exponentially higher than what Peter first offered, thereby challenging him to go higher. When asked about adultery Jesus said that a mere look at a woman with intent to lust was adultery. The Bible is littered with examples of Jesus calling folks to a higher level or telling them the truth about their lives. For those who allowed this critical truth to penetrate their hearts; they left Jesus with their lives forever changed. When faced with truth there are really only two options; either change or stay the same. The problem with gassing folks up is that you are robbing them of the chance to have their lives transformed by the truth you are withholding from them.
I’m sure you are tired of watching someone do something for Christ and you are looking at them like “why are they doing this and why didn’t someone say something to them?” I’ve fallen victim to being gassed up in the very early stages of my spoken word career but that doesn’t happen too much anymore. Why? Because my wife tells me the absolute truth. I’m talking the truth that hurts and you don’t want to talk to anyone for a couple of hours. Many of us either need that person or need to become that person for our friends and family. We all suffer from the inability to properly asses where we are, which is why we need to let someone looking from the outside in speak to us. Don’t rob yourself and others of the gift of truth. It will save you and the Body of Christ as a whole a great deal of shame. Every week on the Trackstarz podcast, Sean almost always asks, “How close are we getting to the mainstream?” If we want to merge into that world and take the Gospel message in our respective crafts to the next level, we need each other to be truthful. We have already come so far and I believe we’ll go further by skill, hard work, and honesty. We don’t need the gas because our drive comes from the Lord… leave the unleaded at home.