burpengary baptist church (7) from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 bertknot, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

He struggled. He overheard the adults whispering, as if his inability to recite the memory verse made him unable to hear their criticism. As if he were immune to the insensitivity. One adult actually asked him, “Why can’t you be more like your siblings?” The candy didn’t pass his lips, and the badges were conspicuously missing from his sash.

She excelled. She heard the adults openly praise her for her superior memorization skills, as if they were a direct link to godliness. She was the standard. The candy piled up, and the badges filled both sides.

He learned to cover his perceived shortcomings with humor and charm.

She learned failure was unacceptable. If people wanted perfection, she would provide.

The church fueled his insecurity.

The church fanned her self-righteousness and legalistic tendencies.

And surely this was unintentional. Surely they could both expand on all the ways they’re grateful for, and indebted to, their first community of believers.

But the insecurity. It became a big part of his story. The self-righteousness and legalism a large part of hers. Both wounded. Both crippled. Both struggling to leave the whispers behind and step into the truth

Both asking the question, What stories are we handing out?