Don’t Trust Me: Because I Will Let You Down

The Christian community fervently follows tons of bloggers, preachers, and voices to aid them in their spiritual walk, and I think this is awesome. Really.

But please, please, dear friend, you must also please think for yourself.

If something in a sermon sounds funny or off or weird, don’t believe it just because it’s coming out of the mouth of your favorite preacher.

If your favorite blogger is saying something you silently disagree with, it’s okay: you don’t have to fanwank them to protect their pedestal in your mind. It’s okay to disagree.

If they say something obviously wrong, it doesn’t make them a bad person: it just means they’re still learning, and so are you, and so are we, and no one gets it right every time. Most of them — and me too — are still working on the things they’re preaching.

Every single person you listen to is just as broken, crazy, and capable of error as you are. I’ll go further and say: some of these guys only care about blog hits and revenue and the number of followers and likes and reblogs, and don’t really care about you, and they have their prepackaged automatic statements ready to fire when they want to act like they care about you. We all do.
Some do love you, but are not truthful. Some are truthful, but don’t love you.
Don’t trust them; not fully, ever. Don’t trust me. Just trust Jesus.

I’m not saying this out of some kind of reverse-humility, as if to look more humble. I’m dead serious. Don’t trust me.

I’m also not as cool as I try to make myself. If you met me, I’m much shorter than you imagine, I laugh too loud in public, and my teeth are pretty crooked. You’d be disappointed.

None of these preachers and bloggers are heroes. They’re not the sacred hologram we might have built them up to be. I’ve seen many wonderful men and women of God completely melt down, freak out, throw tantrums, and go violent (including myself) — and again, it does not make them bad people. It just makes them people.

Question everything. Use the Bible as your lens. Ask: Would Jesus have agreed with this? And at some point, land your heart on your conviction. We can’t walk this walk emulating other peoples’ opinions and secretly hoping for their approval and applause when we can parrot back information.

I am not discounting community, but the danger of numbers can often lead to conformity. True transformation only happens when your mind fully closes on the truth, and that journey of discovery must happen on your own.

Otherwise, when you find out these people are only people: your identity will be crushed, too.

Don’t look up to me, or to some supposedly eloquent, articulate, witty, humble blogger. Please don’t get caught up in the magical spun spell of a brilliant-sounding idea that is backed by the icing of so much self-aware, juiced-up, over-hyped scaffolding. At its central core, even when the “good idea” is true: it cannot work in the space of your deeply held convictions unless you actually swish the idea in your mind and clamp your mental jaws upon the meat.

It can’t become a part of you until it passes through you, and even then, it needs to pass the test, to be rotated in 3D, to be examined in the light of reality. You will be disturbed by how many ideas so quickly fall apart this way. Yet you’ll also be liberated towards pure wisdom that is not only functional but alive, a pulsing breathing life that is more than inspirational pep talk on a page.

Wisdom, then, is so much more than mental assent or reblogging a “convicting” post — but to be held up against itself, in the scorching no-nonsense eye of God, stripped of flowery layers, and arriving in your heart before applying it with your hands. This is how great revolutions began.

Try an experiment. For a week or so, do not read any blogs or listen to any sermons. Don’t read any Christian books or seek someone else’s advice. Instead, spend time in prayer and Scripture, in your bedroom or out in nature, and question everything. Talk with the Father. See what you find. Solidify your convictions, and when you come back to the open world of voices, see if you have a refreshed perspective.

I think your outlook will change. I think you’ll find that many of the paradigms and social constructs that you held dear were wrong, not because anyone is bad, but because we buy into ideas that sound good but don’t really work.

You’ll find that some authors and pastors and bloggers probably have noble intentions, but some of us are writing from a vacuum-sealed, isolated laboratory without true love for your soul. You’ll see the cute little catchphrases and preprogrammed statements and all the self-promotions and attention-seeking — and you’ll see it in me, in you, and realize there is Only One we can truly trust with our entire being. It’s because He absolutely loves you within Himself, without extra motives, without working an angle. I would check with Him first.
Follow Him. Please: trust only Him, the true writer and healer of our hearts.

— J.S.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:20-22

Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?
– Isaiah 2:22

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
– 1 John 4:1

The law of the Lord is perfect,
refreshing the soul.
The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the Lord are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

– Psalm 19:7-8

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.
– Jeremiah 33:3


19 thoughts on “Don’t Trust Me: Because I Will Let You Down

  1. I absolutely love every single word. Excellent advice!! AND, I love that you listed a few of your “flaws” we each have our own!! Hilarious! I am now following your blog and look forward to new posts!


  2. Thank you. This speaks to me very much. I want to experience truth myself, with how God has revealed himself to me. But sometimes I don’t really know what I stand for or if I’m just getting by.


    1. Same here. But I do know we act on our deeply held convictions when the moment of choice arrives. As C.S. Lewis says, if you want to discover what’s in the basement, you have to sneak up on the rats; you can’t announce you’re going down the stairs.


  3. Amazing you say this because I’ve been gnawing on this topic all weekend. I’ve been planning to discuss this with my teen group on Friday. I was studying John the Baptist and how he pointed his disciples to Christ. It is easy to elevate a leader and unconsciously put their thoughts and ideas above Gods.


    1. Great example. I’ve seen the “cult of personality” too much, particularly when a pastor leaves a church and suddenly they become helpless. Any leader’s job must be to work themselves out of a job; in other words, train leaders to lead themselves and others.


  4. While I have never written about this so eloquently as you have here, I speak and write the same thing: test, Bible test, prayer test, spirit test, serve only Jesus…
    Religious spectators follow too easily and forget God is in them, and we all “are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God” (1 Peter 2:9 GW). Well said, and you’ll get no argument from me!!


    1. Thanks for the kind words. I do realize also that even our own filters are worth testing too. We all come in with our own preconceived biases. Test, re-test.


  5. I love what you said here. The best believing leaders don’t say, “follow me.” they say, “follow Him.”

    I think true faith means we not only don’t trust (fully) other leaders, it also means we don’t trust out own opinions. I’m wrong all the time; I know that as a principle, but I rarely know it in the moment.

    So as a leader, let’s even hold onto our own opinions…lightly.


    1. Completely agreed. Humble thinkers have always remained flexible and open to saying “I’m wrong.” It’s a fear for many people, especially Christians, to admit such a thing. Then others capitulate too quickly, as if they must follow wherever the river goes. I guess it comes down to: with doctrine, there must be a non-negotiable core, but with relationships, there must be freedom to breathe, serve, and admit error.


  6. Fantastic post- I shudder at the thought of people following me. I know I’m only going to disappoint and it isn’t biblical. I shudder at the thought of people following people- expecting things that are unreasonable of us, and then using this to say Christianity is wrong because a Christian did something wrong. I hate that this disillusionment can happen when it is avoidable.


    1. Yes, it’s true. I do believe on one hand that Christians (especially pastors) are held to a higher standard, and perhaps rightly so. But we also point to the only standard and recognize we’ll always fall short in sight of Him. I get worried for churches that stand on a single personality or for bloggers who get all their advice from a handful of blogs. In the end, only God has sufficient authority, and only He is trustworthy. Some of us learn this the hard way.


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