To Be Honest…

This phrase has become very popular, tbh. And, yes, I know that every word that comes out of our mouths should be honest. And yet…it’s not. We’re not always honest. I’m not always honest.

I can blame growing up in the South or in theater, but I don’t always say what I really mean and I rarely share what I really think. If someone asks me, “How are you?” I answer, “Fine.” But the truth is that, most of last year, I was not fine. And that’s just for starters. I struggle to share my struggles. I want people to believe I’m great, we’re great, life is great. I want to be the “Super Christian” who rejoices in trials and sees every challenge as an opportunity for growth.Image result for to be honest

But here’s what I have learned: Wrapping myself up in the “I’m fine” cocoon is lonely. Isolating. And dangerous. When I keep my struggles to myself, they amplify. It’s like having a piece of gravel in your shoe. If you leave it in there, even though it’s small, it can push into your skin, make a home there. It becomes a painful infection. But if you just take it out when you first feel it, that gravel can have no effect on you whatsoever.

Sharing struggles is like that. Granted, the struggles don’t go away as easily as a piece of gravel. But their effects are minimized when we discuss them, honestly, with people who care. Paul tells us that when we we carry each other’s burdens, we fulfill the Law of Christ (Galatians 6). And most of us are great at being willing to carry other’s burdens. But the reverse…now that’s just hard. It takes humility and vulnerability, it risks rejection and exposure. And, certainly, we ought to be cautious about who we trust with our burdens. Sadly, some will take that honesty and use it as a club. And maybe that has happened to you, and so you hold tight in your cocoon so it won’t happen again. But that leaves you lonely, isolated, and infected.

This new year, make a commitment to be honest. Ask God for people you can share your burdens with. Seek to be someone with whom others can share their burdens. We are a body, a community. Our job is to love each other and help each other. We can’t be a true a community if we are all wrapped up in ourselves and our hurts and our fears. Break of out that, be free. And be honest.

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