In Praise & Worship tonight, the worship leader - a senior, a leader on our campus, and someone that many students look up to spiritually - spoke to us. He shared a lot of really heavy stuff. He started out by saying "This is really hard and it's going to be really awkward for all of us. Some of you know me really well. Some of my best friends are here tonight; people who know me better than anyone else. Some of you think you know me - we talk and hang out - but really you don't. My parents are listening to this online. Some of you see me around and know who I am. And some of you don't know me at all. I have a feeling that a lot of you think that I am somehow more spiritual than you because I stand up here and sing and pray. But I'm here to tell you that I've been lying. Not in my worship or my prayers, because I really do mean that and I love my God, but in a lot of other things." He went on to tell the entire campus about these sins in his life that he has been hiding and pushing down and trying to forget about, but he can't. They just keep coming up and affecting his life. And holding him down. And he felt like he should share them with us. So he did. He listed all these things, saying "I'll just start at the beginning of this year - since I've been the P&W worship leader." And he told us that he has drank excessively - to the point of being drunk and throwing up all night - many times. He has led one of his best friends on and broke her heart. He wasn't there for a friend who was doubting his faith and he knew it but just didn't want to have that talk. Now this friend has transferred and he has no idea if he's still a christian. He started having sex - he lost his virginity this year. He has stopped caring about people he loved. He has stopped caring about school. He has cheated on his girlfriend and watched her cry over it. He went on and on, listing so many things.
All this and while he showed up on Sunday nights and led the whole campus in worship.
He then told us that he thought that there were a lot of people there who had sins that were holding us back and we should share them and let our friends help us through. We prayed in groups and shared what's on our hearts. It was amazing to see all the love, acceptance, and forgiveness in that chapel tonight.
But this has been making me think. Why is it that we hold all those things in? Why do we have to put up a front, put on that mask, and pretend like everything is fine? Why are we so afraid to be vulnerable and to share our struggles? It made me think and it made me sad. Because if Josh, such a leader on this campus, was going through all of that without anyone knowing, how many other people are too? And if people are here, at such a wonderful Christian community, what about the rest of the world? So many people just need to be loved.
I don't know what that means, but I just thought it was interesting and sad. And I think it was amazing of Josh to be so open and vulnerable. Because by tomorrow, I guarantee that the entire campus will have heard about it. It'll be interesting to see what happens - will he be loved and supported or laughed at and judged. I hope and pray that this campus can do the first of those and simply love because the greatest commandment is to "Love the lord your God with all your heart and soul and mind; and to love your neighbor as yourself."