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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Comiskey

Reveal Yourself

‘When we lead with our strengths, we create competition; we create community when we lead with our weaknesses.’ Mike Bickle

 

Mike Bickle taught young people how to live as Christians. More than a pastor of ‘prophets,’ he formed young lives with truth, freshly expressed and compelling. Bickle’s teaching was revelatory.

 

Yet Mike failed to reveal himself. Though he taught the concept, he chose not to lead with his moral weakness. That weakness became wickedness and imposed cruel and unusual injustices upon women, especially his wife. That cost him his reputation. It may cost IHOP-KC its life.  

 

Why does the inner stream we call our sexuality have such power? In the best sense, our longings move us to intimacy with another, which by its nature is guarded and hidden for the protection of this most sensational, sacred bond. Good shame helps inspire boundaries; these limits guide desire toward the ultimate dignity—creating new life.

 

But power cuts both ways. When our waters of life and life overflow the banks, we diminish the value of all concerned. And the good shame that modulated self-giving can become bad, an accusation that silences us rather than invites us to cry for mercy.  

 

Perhaps Mike didn’t trust others enough to cultivate the community that could love him when the waters threatened to overflow. Maybe he was just proud. So he spent huge amounts of energy and anxiety trying to control the flood. What a waste. He could have been loved. Instead, he damaged himself and a host of others.

 

We can do what Mike said but never realized. Reveal yourself. You are a sexual gift and an original sinner. Lead out in your community with the specifics of your moral weakness. By that I mean name your messy stream: the capacity to confuse and diminish another person’s ‘gift’ as well as to confirm it.

 

Reveal yourself. Become known. Enlist the help of those you trust. Reveal the clarity (or opacity) of your waters and their momentum, as well as the bolstering you need to engage responsibly with the opposite sex. Lay down garbage and take up virtue with a little help from friends.  

 

Reveal yourself. You can be bought. Each of us has a price we will pay for a feverish-dream-come-true, even if it costs us (or another) our dignity, marriage, or ministry.

 

Christian ‘seductions’ occur innocently enough: Bethel or Misty warbling in the background, prayer punctuated by holy hugs and brief kisses, a visceral discernment of God’s ‘yes’, plans for ministry together then…what? naked on the couch?

 

Don’t try to manage the sensational mess. Tell the truth to friends.  

 

Your waters are powerful and damaged another. Own it. Act like a Christian. Seek reparation. Humble yourself. Be the first to confess your sin.

 

Take preventative strikes. You don’t have to go there in the first place. Set limits and be accountable to friends who will hold you to it.

 

I wish Mike had followed his own exhortation. Learn from what he didn’t learn: reveal yourself. Create a community in which you commit to leading out with weakness.

 

That’s the only way I have stayed true. Perhaps it’s the only way, given the power of the gift and the weakness of the vessel.

 

I am especially grateful for the women violated by Mike who revealed themselves and exposed what Mike would not. We owe them a lot. May Jesus shatter the yoke of shame and accusation imposed upon them.  

 

‘There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs’ (Matt. 10:26-27).


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