Preacher’s Remorse

I don’t get it often.

But I experienced a little bit of it this past Sunday. If I was to define it, it would be this.

Preacher’s Remorse | ˈprēCHərz  riˈmôrs | (noun)

An emotional feeling or sensation of regret or contrition usually resulting from a sermon during which the preacher/teacher either (a) over-shared from his/her own life and is feeling raw and exposed, or (b) remembered the “BEST ILLUSTRATION EVER!!” one hour after church ended, or (c) preached the entire message unaware of an obvious wardrobe malfunction.

For the record, I’ve had all three.

Just a few months ago, I went out into the lobby after church, and CJ walked up to me with a puzzled look on his face and said, “I’ve been wondering about this all morning. Is your shirt on backwards?”

I looked down. “Why, yes. Yes it is.” Preacher’s remorse version C.

The preacher’s remorse that I felt following this past Sunday was version A. The “overshare.” If you were at church, you would have heard me share simply and honestly about how — for Rachel and me in this current season — marriage is hard. Really hard.

And I talked about the new humanity that God is creating. A new humanity where all of the fierce loyalties and love and devotion that are typically reserved for immediate family, now must be directed to a much broader group! To all of God’s children. That is the implication of Jesus words in Matthew 12 when He turns to his followers and says, “This is my mother. And these are my brothers.”

I shared how Rachel and I are feeling the fierce loyalty and love and devotion of our little Kingdom family at Ekklesia. They (you all) are holding us up! And we need it! And it is so good.

In the days following Sunday, I’ve been plagued with a little voice inside my head that says “Preachers shouldn’t admit that! You are losing your public credibility. And what if people draw completely wrong conclusions? What if people think you had an affair? What if they think you’re separating? That was a foolish thing to share.”

There is an old song by Sara Groves called Loving a Person. The opening lyrics are as follows.

Loving a person just the way they are, it’s no small thing /
It takes some time to see things through /

Hold on to me /
I’ll hold on to you /
Let’s find out the beauty of seeing things through /

Truer words.

My preacher’s remorse has faded. I have to believe it’s OK to admit that marriage — loving and being loved — is no small thing. I had coffee with a good friend on Tuesday, and he said to me, “Amazing sermon. Seriously podcast-repeat worthy. It opens the doors for others to talk about their lives and their marriages. So good!”

Here’s to the beauty of seeing things through.

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