Speaking by phone to Fox News Digital just as his newest book was published, Pastor Max Lucado of Texas revealed that some of the strongest and most successful people today in any field or endeavor are those who admit their faults and failings — because “we are all saved by the same grace. We are all loved by the same God.”
Lucado’s latest book, “God Never Gives Up on You,” takes readers through an understanding of strength through weakness, of dignity through a deliberate decision to admit imperfections and to seek understanding and renewal.
It’s very hard for many people to go down that path — for reasons of pride, insecurity, immaturity, a lack of self-awareness and more, he acknowledged. But Lucado stressed the gift of healing that’s available.
It’s by acknowledging imperfections and weaknesses, he said, that people can be “healthier” — spiritually, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
The subtitle of his book is “What Jacob’s Story Teaches Us About Grace, Mercy and God’s Relentless Love” (Thomas Nelson, Sept. 2023).
Said Lucado, “Welcome to the human race. Nobody bats 1,000. And the sooner we can acknowledge that we don’t, the healthier we’ll be.”
He added, “I think the heaviest load to carry is the load of trying to appear perfect — this idea that ‘I’ve got to appear like I have it all together.’ That’s exhausting. It’s exhausting. It’s depleting. And also it keeps us from getting the help and the healing that we need.”
He went on, “A healthier posture is to say, ‘Hey, I need help. I need help.’ The Bible says to confess your sins to one another so that healing may come. There’s a connection between confession and healing. And so the sooner we can acknowledge that we need help, the sooner we’ll receive help.”
“Perfection is not a virtue. Imperfection is an impossibility.”
So why is this so hard for so many people to admit?
“I think that we’ve been taught that perfection is a virtue,” said Lucado. “That the best people have no weakness.”
Continued Lucado, “That’s a lie. That’s a big lie. Perfection is not a virtue. Imperfection is an impossibility.”
Instead, he said, “honesty is a virtue. Vulnerability is a virtue. And so, the AA people — they got it right. They got it right! You know — ‘Hi, I’m Max. I’m a drunk.’ Or, ‘Hi, I’m Max, I’m addicted to painkillers.’ And to be able to acknowledge [an imperfection, a fault, a failing], right off the bat — there’s just beauty in that. There’s brilliance in that. And there’s potential for healing in that.”
Lucado, a father and grandfather, is pastor at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. He’s sold over 145 million books worldwide.
Here’s more of Fox News Digital’s interview with Pastor Lucado as he continues to travel the country discussing his latest book, already a bestseller — and as of publication time, a No. 1 bestseller in the Old Testament Bible Study category on Amazon as well as the No. 3 bestseller for Christian Inspirational titles.
‘I’m a fellow struggler’
Fox News Digital: In your view, do other people respect those who admit their faults and failings? Or do people, especially in professional settings, then see those who admit their weaknesses differently?
Pastor Max Lucado: Yes, they do respect those who [admit their imperfections]. In my world, as a pastor — and I’ve been a pastor since 1979, which is kind of before Noah — there are many pastors [and other faith leaders] who tend to want to appear like they have it all together. The ones who have successful careers are the ones who give up on that early.
They get down off the pedestal … They don’t insist that they’re perceived as different.
The healthier ones are those who say, “I’m a fellow struggler. We’re all saved by the same grace. We’re all loved by the same God.”
And so, I see the ones who have longevity are those who acknowledge their weaknesses — it’s just a healthier posture to have. And I have a hunch that is true in every profession.
‘We were told not to gather’
Fox News Digital: Can you discuss the difficulties and challenges that arose for so many millions of people during the COVID lockdowns — and that still exist for many in new and different ways in 2023?
ML: COVID did a lot of things to us, but one thing it did is it insulated us. It created a fear of others — and it caused us to cocoon, to hibernate. We are community-minded people. We need to shake hands. We need to hug. We need to talk. We need to sit across the table from each other.
And for 18 months or two years — we were told not to do that.
We were told not to gather in public places.
“The damage of COVID is that it created a new habit of separating ourselves from others and maybe even a distrust of others.”
And that takes its toll on us because we are cultural people. We like to go to football games, operas, musicals. We like to sing together, laugh together, be together — we enjoyed the privacy for a bit, but after awhile it took its toll on us.
So I think the damage of COVID is that it created a new habit of separating ourselves from others and maybe even a distrust of others. I don’t think we’re quite out of that.
These are fear-based. We were told, “Other people will breathe bacteria on you, and you could die.” And so we became afraid of people.
And we began walking wide circles around people and avoiding them in the grocery stores or in social gatherings or even inviting people over for meals. Because we were afraid — especially the vulnerable, the fragile, the elderly, or those who were already sick. And they needed community — and yet they were told that the couldn’t have it.
And now it takes a while for them to get the courage back.
‘We can overcome fear one step at a time’
Fox News Digital: What do you say to those who may still be struggling in that regard — including those who maybe don’t want to step foot inside a church or community center again after what happened?
ML: I think people can take baby steps, you know? If that person were sitting with me in the office — or they may not even want to be sitting in the office with me! So we may need to have a visit over the phone. But maybe I would say to that person, “Let’s start somewhere. Why don’t you come to my office and let’s just talk.” Or, I might ask them, “Who do you trust? Who do you know? Surely you know someone who doesn’t have COVID. Why don’t the two of you meet and have a cup of coffee.”
“It’s just like any fear. We can overcome it one step at a time.”
And little by little, people can re-engage with each other and with society.
And I think it’s just like any fear. We can overcome it one step at a time.
It just may be too much for them to come back into a church building. But maybe they could gather with a small group in a home Bible study, or have a priest come over to their home and bring them Communion. They can reach out to a local church and ask for some arrangements, even meet in a park — there are different ways to do this.
‘They have to own it’
Fox News Digital: We know about the decline today in church attendance, especially among young people. What are your thoughts on this issue and how to address it?
ML: I don’t react with great concern on this. I would say that societies ebb and flow in terms of spirituality and with people’s engagement in church.
I think that we live in a secular society — and matters of faith are not taught to our children by leaders in positions of authority. And some are even told not to talk about their faith. So this is a natural outgrowth of that.
But what is happening that is positive today is that as the statistics show people who have less faith, then those who do have faith have a deeper faith. It’s not the “in” thing — it’s not the current trend to be a person of faith. So if you do have faith, it’s a robust faith.
In our church here in San Antonio, we’ve enjoyed an increase in church attendance — and we’re seeing a lot of 18-year-olds, 19-year-olds, 20-year-olds, 21-year-olds in our church.
And they are rocking and rolling in matters of faith! The reason is, they have to own it.
Their peer groups ar probably not urging them to practice a certain level of morality and spirituality. But once they own it — they become disciples. They take it seriously.
So overall, I’m terribly concerned. And if the Lord carries, we’ll have another revival.
And maybe it’s time to let our faith become more authentic.