Photo Credit: Sebastian Unrau via Unsplash
For me, it is easiest to talk about the hard things of life while pounding on the keyboard. Words spilling across the screen as tears stream down my face. I can type truths I wouldn’t be brave enough to share face to face. It’s awkward though when you pour your heart out on the page. I look for typed back responses to emails at times that never come. Instead, I get deep hugs and searching glances at church.
Somehow brokenness spills easier on the screen. Sure, I hope for the day where I can meet with others face to face and share my heart and all the emotions. That is not my reality yet. Face to face often means smile in place and wondering just how much to reveal.
It can be hard to look around the church and realize that everyone is so carefully put together. We go to our same seats and we do the same routine. Sometimes no matter how many people talk to you, you can still leave feeling like you connected with no one. At times this can feel lonely. We don’t go to church to socialize. We don’t go to be seen. No matter how we feel Jesus is our closest companion. Still, there are days that we just want to feel a connection. That can be difficult on Sundays because the time to talk is short and well there are so many people. It is harder yet when someone asks how are you doing and you always smile and say “I’m fine or I’m good.”
God has been dealing with me a bit lately. God wants honesty, truth in the inward parts. The first few times the topic came up I thought it was something else. God makes it clearer. God desires that I get honest with myself and with God. Sure, sounds easy. Only God wants me to get honest about the things that are not fine. I’ve spent years glossing over things that were hard or negative. My life was normal in my mind. Only the reality is it was not. But that is old news in the past let’s just deal with today, please.
Now God says today. A sister in Christ comes up and asks how are you? I smile and reply “I’m fine, how are you” She looks at me a little too long, a little too deep. She replies, hugs me and smiles and we part ways. God says, you were not honest with her. I sigh, really God, clearly, it is just a greeting. No one wants details. God reminds me that He desires honesty. Ok God, how do you get honest and not have people regret asking you? I desire honesty with you with me and with others, I hear again.
I believe I will start with myself and God, sounds safe. Arrive at Bible study in the morning usual greeting, I reply “I’m fine.” She looks at me, she’s my spiritual mother and point blank says, “Your lying through your teeth.” I’ve just been called out in front of those already there. I can’t help but laugh as I make a mental note to speak to her later, only God can be so persistent. I’m often not intentionally deceitful. In most cases, I reply without thinking. That is just the common answer to the question. Although at times I do say that to avoid questions when I am not ready to talk. Then I wonder why I feel disconnected when I know that I’m loved. I hear God say stop creating distance. Share your heart, let them see your life as it is. Something tells me this lesson will take time to learn. I’ve majored in building walls to keep others out. A form of protection against being rejected or hurt. I hear God say I am your protection. Will you trust me?
In closing I want to share some of the scriptures God has shown me in this area:
Exodus 20:16 (AMP)
“You shall not testify falsely [that is, lie, withhold, or manipulate the truth] against your neighbor (any person).
Revelation 21:8,7 (AMP, AMPC)
But as for the cowards and unbelieving and abominable [who are devoid of character and personal integrity and practice or tolerate immorality], and murderers, and sorcerers [with intoxicating drugs], and idolaters and occultists [who practice and teach false religions], and all the liars [who knowingly deceive and twist truth], their part will be in the lake that blazes with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
But nothing that defiles or profanes or is unwashed shall ever enter it, nor anyone who commits abominations (unclean, detestable, morally repugnant things) or practices falsehood, but only those whose names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Ephesians 4:21-25 (AMP)
If in fact you have [really] heard Him and have been taught by Him, just as truth is in Jesus [revealed in His life and personified in Him], that, regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude], and put on the new self [the regenerated and renewed nature], created in God’s image, [godlike] in the righteousness and holiness of the truth [living in a way that expresses to God your gratitude for your salvation]. Therefore, rejecting all falsehood [whether lying, defrauding, telling half-truths, spreading rumors, any such as these], speak truth each one with his neighbor , for we are all parts of one another [and we are all parts of the body of Christ].
Ephesians 4 spoke to me on two different levels. Firstly since my church is my family I should be honest about where I find myself. Also, it speaks to me as I stand against the abusive environment and the lies the enemy uses to attack my heart. I am to reject all lies and stand on what the Word says about me. Starting with I am God’s Masterpiece (Eph 2:10)
God has also revealed to me that I will quickly share my heart with certain friends if I can email them. But face to face I am always “fine”. God is a jealous God though and He desires that I become even more honest with Him about the struggles. Also that my face to face answer matches my inner reality.
My conclusion lying even innocently hurts the body of Christ. Honesty allows others to lift me before the Father and help shoulder the load. And as I share the vulnerable things I become closer to those I share with and that strengthens the body. I never thought that our greetings were that big of a deal. I felt like that was the “socially acceptable” thing to do. I mean most people who ask don’t have a lot of time to hear about your week. And at times there is little to say. But God is showing me that sin is sin, and even a little ruins the whole thing.
Psalm 15:1-4 (AMP)
O Lord, who may lodge [as a guest] in Your tent?
Who may dwell [continually] on Your holy hill?
2He who walks with integrity and strength of character, and works righteousness,
And speaks and holds truth in his heart.
3He does not slander with his tongue,
Nor does evil to his neighbor,
Nor takes up a reproach against his friend;
4In his eyes an evil person is despised,
But he honors those who fear the Lord [and obediently worship Him with awe-inspired reverence and submissive wonder].
He keeps his word even to his own disadvantage and does not change it [for his own benefit];