So on a whim I decided to take one of those silly quizzes I saw on a new friend’s MySpace. I answered honestly, and the quiz seems to think I’m something strange when it comes to relating to people. I don’t ask this with any pretense, but do I relate “too well” for people to take me seriously? Maybe I should become a guidance counselor. Haha.
I will spare you the visual assault that is the evil html code of Internet quizzes — at least in this space. If you absolutely must know, look me up on MySpace.
I’ve been thinking quite a bit for the past few days with regard to Christian relationships in general (not necessarily romantic relationships). When I meet someone new, I want to find out about them as a person, and a lot of people just aren’t comfortable breaking out of their shells. I delight when I find folks who are comfortable enough share a little bit of themselves with me. I’m delighted when I’ve made a new friend. I enjoy treating people like family even though I may barely know them. But some folks just don’t seem to be comfortable with being truly honest about who they are.
Why is it that we are so afraid to take off the masks? Are we afraid that someone might see us as the fragile or broken person that we are? Why do we pretend that everything is alright and say things like “I’m fine” or “I’m just thinking about things” when really what we want is for someone to hold us while we weep? Is it so terrible to be vulnerable if the people around us genuinely love us? Ok, so not everyone is trustworthy. Many people will see an emotional vulnerability and see it as an opportunity to hurt or use another person. But in the context of a body of people who love, I believe that vulnerability is absolutely necessary if we’re going to relate to one another on the level of brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ.
We’ve got to stop pretending like we’re “good” people and have it all together when the stark reality of the situation is that we are all still struggling with this cancer called sin. We end up so afraid to seek comfort and encouragement when we have stumbled in sin because we believe we’ll get singled out and treated poorly. So we just shut everything up inside ourselves and put on a happy face. We wind up in a downward spiral that leaves us falling deeper and deeper into the anguish that sin brings. Why don’t we just level with each other and admit that what Paul tells us in Romans 3 is true:
“. . . [A]ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
We’re all equals. There’s no distinction among us in God’s eyes. We all miss the mark entirely. We all are utterly desperate and in need of a savior. We all need the community found in the Body of Christ as well: we need encouragement when we’re struggling; we need comfort when we’re hurting; we need rebuke when we sin; we need reconciliation and restoration when we repent of sin. So let’s stop pretending like we don’t sin and that we don’t need these things. Let’s stop pretending like we don’t have a need to be constantly renewed and constantly refined into being more like Christ. We all do, because even the “best” of us isn’t even close to perfect.
I need God’s grace daily. You need God’s grace daily. We ought to love and forgive one another as God does to us when we simply acknowledge our need for it and accept the gift He offers to us. My friends, I pray that God makes us kind, loving, warm, and receptive to one another, especially in times of spiritual need. May He grant us the courage to offer a gentle rebuke in love when it is necessary and also the courage to seek out comfort and encouragement when we have stumbled. May He grant us mercy that we might be merciful to those who have sinned against us. May He grant us the willingness and patience to pursue peace and the restoration of the bond of friendship however it has been broken. May He grant that our hearts would be tender and that we would not selfishly withhold our love for the sake of grievances between us.