Clinging to the comfort and hope of the gospel, I’m free from demanding that my friends love me perfectly. I don’t need their perfect ministry because I have the perfect ministry of Christ. And as I humbly receive from him, I’m able to humbly receive the imperfect love of others as tangible instruments of God’s grace to me.
Often our discomfort with a topic (sex, rape, homosexuality, suicide, etc) can be misinterpreted as discomfort with the person. As believers, we can respond to difficult stories and hard conversations with compassion for the people who share them with us.
The kind of thinking that attempts to bear the burdens of others as Christ instead of with Christ makes a ministry with foundations not in Jesus, but in the one who has put himself/herself in Jesus’ place. Such a ministry is thinking far too highly of itself (Rom 12:3).
Certain that true community and growth were only possible through unflinching vulnerability, I committed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I shared all the gory details of my past and present struggles, heaping burdens upon willing listeners while remaining a safe distance from their attempts to speak truth into my life.
We are talkers. Our talking isn’t just a way we pass the time. There is much more going on with our desire to speak. Part of the reason we speak compulsively is an attempt to rule and subdue the earth, because we image a God of spoken power.
This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Mothers are something to be celebrated, no doubt. Among the greatest blessings in my life are the amazing parents with whom God graced me. But Mother’s Day has been a major source of grief for me, flamboyantly flaunting all that I longed for and couldn’t have.