“How are you?”
“Doing fine, how about you?”
“All good here.”
How many of these sorts of conversations have you had? Pleasantries exchanged, nothing real, nothing significant and nothing helpful. Look, I know we don’t want to run down the list of all of our issues in every conversation, with every person we encounter. That being said, there should be a different sort of communication that we can engage in with those brothers and sisters within our spiritual family. The idea of sharing highs and lows with one another is a biblical principle (Galatians 6:2, Romans 12:15). So, the question is, why don’t we share more, with those folks who understand the challenges of life from a spiritual perspective? Here are just a few potential reasons:
Arrogance. Yep, that sounds ugly, but let’s face it, our own arrogance can be a barrier to sharing our lives with our fellow Christians. Maybe we have painstakingly forged a persona and that persona doesn’t allow for admitting spiritual/ physical/emotional challenges. Our self-esteem will be impacted if we show a crack in the armor, our persona damaged. It takes courage to allow others to see our struggles.
Fear. This can be a pretty long list. Fear of being judged harshly. Fear of a self-righteous response. Fear of our issues “getting out”. Fear of how we might be perceived going forward. Fear of being misunderstood. There are any number of fears that we equate with personal risk, but some risks might be worth taking.
Relationships. More specifically the lack of them. Building a level of trust that allows us to be able to share our challenges/concerns with others, requires intentional time and effort. Relationships don’t just happen, they are created. Trust is wrought.
Selfishness. You know how this might go. If I share things with someone, they might do the same with me! Now we have created a situation. We now have a degree of responsibility to be helpful to the person that we initially were hoping to get some perspective from to help ourselves. The idea of reciprocating is fundamental to creating good relationships. It can’t always just be about me.
Overconfidence. Why would I need anyone to lean on, any other perspective, someone to pray for me, a sounding board to bounce ideas off of? We are a self-sufficient lot aren’t we? We typically feel that we can do it ourselves, whatever “it” is. Overconfidence is self-limiting. By only relying on ourselves, we build a tight box around our potential.
Time. We have been fooled. Somehow, we have bought into the busyness that defines our society. We struggle to find the time to do all of the things expected of us professionally, in school and in our community. Even worse, those things are ever in front of us and demand a daily response. In many cases, taking time to be with our Christian family has become something we only work into our calendars when we can. Loving one another is an action. Action requires our time. (John 13:34, 1 John 3:18).
Life is difficult. Life is challenging. Life is wonderful. God has established a spiritual family, to encourage, to support, to cheer and to cry… together. The opportunity to serve one another by participating in each other’s lives (Galatians 5:13) is unlimited. Work to grow closer through the lens of God’s word. Prefer one another. (Romans 12:10).