authenticity, grace, sin, The body of Christ

Will we…

Today, I had the privilege of reading this article. I loved the combination of the recognition of the Truth, the wrestling of the heart, and the commitment to the Truth in that wrestling. It is such a picture of walking with Christ.
This week, one of the themes has been being authentic about struggle. I sat in a room of women on Tuesday morning and asked “where have you seen God working this week?” There were as many answers as there were women. They shared deeply and authentically of God’s faithfulness in the midst of pain, frustration, confusion. This was not the kind of example that I had necessarily grown up with. I was taught to keep your struggles private and be strong. Little did I know the type of heart struggles adults really have. Many times the sin of others and ourselves so complicate and isolate our lives. Just because we are followers of Christ, we are not free from the consequence of sin and struggle with it. There are deep hurts and chasms of loneliness. This article touches on a man that struggles with following God and desiring a homosexual relationship. I thank God for his candor and for friends that have come alongside him to listen, pray and walk.
I was reminded that we are all a mess, but only those who choose to open up and share that mess begin to experience life as we are made to be in the body. I am thankful for the struggles and pain in my life because I am more sensitive to the needs and struggles in others. When young, I wanted to seem perfect to others so they would respect and lean on me. Now, I have seen there is strength in Him in weakness. Relationships are so much richer and deeper and redeeming when struggles can be shared and prayed through. I have also seen that more people come to you when they know you have experienced pain.
Pain and struggle can unite or divide us. It divides us when we want to hide and we are afraid of what others will say. There is no more isolating feeling when you are ashamed that you are the only one that struggles with a desire or committed a certain sin or are in a dire situation that no one else has shared they had been in. The enemy loves for us to swim in that fear and anxiety. There is no more comforting feeling than to hear one be honest about a struggle that you have felt alone in…a permission is given to be authentic. There are safe people and safe places to share. One who knows the depth of their sin and the depth of God’s grace will walk beside you because they are your brother or sister–they know the name of the struggle may be different but the nature of the struggle is the same.
So, what can we do to be the church, to authentically love others in the truth? Remember the gospel. Listen. Pray. Be there for others. Know that things will come your way that may make you uncomfortable–that you may not have an easy answer for. There may be such grief in walking with a friend that makes your head swim. Being renewed in God’s truth and asking for the strength that is in the grace of Christ Jesus is our hope. Life is not tied up in a neat tidy package, but God is faithful beyond belief. Also, remember that accepting someone and accepting sin are two different things. The last thing we need to do is preach a sermon, but there is truth and God is bigger than our struggle. Ignoring truth to accept someone just as they “are” is not grace. God does not do that to us…he does so much more. Grace is remembering the gospel–that we deserve wrath and God poured it on Christ that we may be made new and have relationship with Him. Through Christ, our sins (gossip, malice, adultery, lying, murder, homosexuality, sexual immorality, stealing, slandering, etc) are forgiven if we have faith in his work on the cross. We must learn to live in and give that grace to others as walk together to pursue holiness.
I pray that if you are alone in a struggle right now that you would pray for someone to share that with. It is scary, but when light sheds itself in a dark room, hope comes.

2 thoughts on “Will we…”

  1. You were (and continue to be) that safe place for me. And I don’t think I ever properly thanked you for that. Not that the comment section of your blog is the proper place but hey, what the heck. I’ll go for it anyway. Thank you for caring about me and for listening to my problems no matter how big or small they were. You have an amazing heart full of encouraging words to offer people in need. And I long to be more like that.

  2. thank you for this. i enjoyed your thoughts and agree. in the past year God has really shown Ben and I the value of this confession and candor and its place within the Body..how we should confess and repent of our sin instead of just rationalizing it to others..
    i got your comment. i pray all went well with your surgery. i would LOVE to have coffee sometime, but i am sure you are VERY busy..you are welcome to call anytime-901 569 0158. It would be an honor to get some time with you!

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