I think it disturbs people when I talk like this. It’s not self-loathing. I’m just being honest. I’m not blind to my short-comings. I am painfully aware of them. And by considering them, I can be work towards being free of them.
These issues I have are a constant inner whirl. Like a Hunger Games arena full of traps and tricks. Just when I think I have found healing and resolution to one thing, another thing pops up.
This week at our “The Forgotten God” study, we talked about being open to people pointing out sin in our lives. My fortress of defense stood strong. Painful memories bombarded my heart. People I thought loved me have pointed out “sin” in my life and demanded I repent and change. Sometimes the “sin” issue they saw was true. Sometimes it wasn’t. But it didn’t really matter because their conversations with me were totally lacking a relationship of Love. Often there was a truth nugget from God in their message but they wrapped it a package of judgement. Instead of speaking a simple word about a sin issue, they wove in their personal dislike of my personality, my style, my approach, my culture, my joys, my journey. What I got from them was judgement and critique. I couldn’t swallow their message. I didn’t feel safe around them anymore. I didn’t feel valued or loved. I couldn’t be friends with them anymore. I couldn’t look them in the eye. And I wore a coat of unforgiveness to protect me from their rejection. Ultimately, I have become prone to being unteachable and defensive.
The day after the Bible Study, a friend from that study talked to me about our friendship. She did not point fingers. She did not demand change. She did not come in judgement. She didn’t actually “point out a sin” but I was immediately aware that I had sinned against her. My fortress of defense was gone. I was all ears.
She spoke as a co-engineer on a joint project: our friendship.
Friendship is like a bridge between two nations that spans a chasm of no-man’s-land. Each nation equally responsible for the design, construction, costs, commissioning, use, upkeep, repair and ongoing improvements.
She gave me a tour of our friendship bridge and showed me a hole she’d found.
The hole is 100% my fault. I often act in thoughtless, selfish, unkind ways.
Yet she bore equal weight in repairing it.
My selfishness has caused damage in our friendship. She could have pointed out my selfishness but instead she vulnerably showed me the effects my selfish has had. In dedicated sisterhood, she opened her heart in vulnerability and asked me to do the same. She didn’t try to be “right”. She didn’t try to heap shame on me. She embodied Love. A Love that spurs on growth and health. She made me a better person. Through our conversation, I was convicted and saw my sin. She helped me to grow to be more like Jesus.
I don’t think the hole is totally fixed yet. I have a lot of work to do to fix this hole and also to prevent future ones. But this is so different from my past experiences. I do not feel judged or critiqued. I feel very safe around her. I feel valued. I feel loved. I want to be friends with her for ever. I can look her in the eye. I am drawn to be around her more. I crave her insights. I welcome her discernment.
Today I’m considering other friendship bridges. I want to put in to practice the things my friend modelled for me. This is how the Body of Christ should be!
… but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)
Do you look for sin areas in your life? Do you get defensive when someone else points out issues? Are you willing to point out sin in the Believers you are in relationship with? What does “speaking Truth in Love” really mean?
Want to read through the Bible with me? Today’s readings are Psalm 30; Luke 16:1-31