"...and I will dwell in the House of the LORD forever!"

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Will You Share?

The past few weeks have been consumed by hours of meaningful ministry—hours that have deepened my appreciation for God’s family. I’ve been challenged by people that I deeply respect. You think you know people until you really know them. Now sure, that’s cliché to the max, but it’s true. Unfortunately, we don’t always appreciate what it means to truly “know” someone.

In the church, I believe we do a good job knowing each other, to the extent that we know about each others families, likes and dislikes, schedules and hobbies, hopes and dreams. We do a good job knowing when someone looks down. We do a good job knowing when someone looks stressed. We do a good job knowing when someone hasn’t been to services. We know who answers the questions in Bible class. But really “knowing” each other? Not even close. What’s even scarier is not knowing when people need us to know; not hugging or encouraging the person that might be one bad day away from catastrophe.

The past few weeks have been full of some of the most meaningful conversations I’ve ever had. These conversations weren’t with my wife or even with people that I’ve known for a long time. These conversations were with people I’ve been acquainted with—have worshiped with—have eaten with—but not people I’ve shared with. These conversations took place over some great BBQ, which is the perfect way to begin a conversation. But both conversations ended in a better understanding of who a person is, what makes them tick, and how the journey of faith is supposed to be traveled as a company, not a contractor.

When we have the courage and humility to step off the pedestal of pride to share our troubles and struggles, God elevates our hearts. Isn’t this what Peter meant when he said, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, that He may lift you up in due time”? (1st Peter 5:6). You can’t be lifted until you fall. With no humility, there’s no stability.

As the church, we do a huge disservice to ourselves when we don’t share the struggles were facing and embracing. Obviously, some matters are best kept private between good friends. When James tells us to confess our sins (or struggles) to each other, he doesn’t qualify the number of ears that must be present, but he does qualify that it must be more than you (James 5:16). In other words, confessing or sharing only works when someone else listens.

If you haven’t found someone to share with, you’re damaging your own spirituality. If you don’t know how to find someone, that doesn’t mean they aren’t there. Some advice—find someone you can trust, but don’t find your best friend. Why? When you share with someone you don’t know as well, you begin to realize that we fight the same battles. The phrase, “What goes around comes around”, doesn’t always have to be bad. You can learn from someone who has been there, and by learning, a meaningful friendship is formed.

Isn’t that profound? Not at all—just biblical. The very thing the church was doing in Acts 2 is the very thing we struggle to follow. “All believers were together and had everything in common.” (Acts 2:44) That commonality wasn’t just goods and money—it was life. If we’ll be more intentional about living life together, just maybe, by the grace of God, we’ll enjoy the favor of all the people. 

Give it a try. Something tells me (the word of God) that it works.