I had a strange bunch of memories that struck me a few days ago. Not anything I’ve thought of in a long time, and they’re from different times in my life. I’ve been wondering why those came up and I finally came to the conclusion that I should share them, and my thoughts about them, with you all, in the hopes that they will help someone. (By the way, if you’ve started a Cadre, this would be a really good thing to discuss as a group.)
The Importance of Grace-Full Relationships
I strongly, strongly, strongly believe that it’s important that each of us has at the very least one person we can safely confide in. I’m talking about someone you not only know will keep your confidences and not spread them around, but also someone who will accept you even when you reveal undesirable things about yourself. We need to be able to talk through those struggles, confess our faults one to another, etc.
Here’s the memory that I had … and it was pretty much the same thing, but in different contexts and at different times. My memory was of sharing something with various close friends, something I was really struggling with, and having them “rebuke” me, telling me not to say that, because then it would become true.
Really? I know this is a popular belief, especially among charismatics and Pentecostals (of which I am one), but honestly, it’s just code for “I don’t want to bear your burdens.”
Okay, so consider that a boundary. If they don’t want to bear your burdens, then don’t ask them to. Find someone else. This is not a safe person to confide in.
What’s wrong with this idea of “not putting those things out there”?
The idea is that if you say it, then that will make it happen. If you say, “I’m not feeling very good,” it will make you sick. If you say, “I’m struggling with depression,” it will cement that depression. This is inherently not biblical. At the very least, it’s superstitious. But in fact, it’s quite anti-biblical.
The Bible tells us to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2) “Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16). Now, tell me, how are you supposed confess your faults to one another and pray for one another if you can’t say it? The Bible specifically says to confess … to one another! Please tell me how you are going to do that without saying what the problem is.
This belief that you shouldn’t talk about what you’re struggling with is isolating. And that’s truly dangerous. It’s one of the things Satan wants: For us to be afraid to obey God in confessing our faults to one another and getting prayer, encouragement and help from each other.
We have many examples in Scripture of people — good, solid examples we are supposed to follow — who come right out and say what they’re struggling with. Here are just a couple of them.
How about Jesus? Jesus, in sight of His disciples and in their hearing, begged God to “take this cup” of the crucifixion He was about to suffer. He agonized over this and sweat drops of blood! He affirmed that He wanted to do the Father’s will, not His own, but He definitely struggled.
David, on numerous occasions, shares his struggles in the Psalms. He talks about how discouraged he is, how much he’s weeping, how much he hates his enemies and wants them to be destroyed, etc, etc. In the process of expressing that, he comes to a conclusion that’s close to the heart of God, but he needed to express his struggle. And consider this: That’s not just his journal you’re reading in Psalms. Those were songs written for the congregation to sing. David was quite public in saying all these things, and he wrote them down for people to sing … so we could have that pattern of expressing our frustration and drawing near to God to let Him help us work through it.
There’s another aspect of this that I’d like to address. David didn’t just go through this once. He went through it over and over. Not one and done.
Seeking Out This Kind of People
This is the kind of friend you need to find … and oh, how much better if it’s a group of friends, like the Isaiah Cadre! Friends who will be there and allow you to share freely what you’re struggling with, and who will fully accept you where you are. People you don’t have to pretend around. People who will pray for you and encourage you in the right direction, but who will not make you feel like a failure when you keep having the same problem over and over. Seventy times seven, baby!
This is grace. This is allowing people to be where they are and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in their lives … at His and their own pace. (More about that another time.) Accepting that He hasn’t convicted them of all the things He’s convicted you of. Acknowledging that maybe there are areas of their life that they have more together than you. Understanding that it’s a team effort, not a competition.
If you don’t already have people like that in your life, I urge you … fervently … to pray for that. And one of the best ways to find them? Be like that yourself.
While you’re working on that, here’s a song I love about the power of being able to be completely yourself and not having to pretend anymore. It’s “dangerous,” not for you or the people around you … but for the enemy of your soul. When you’re free to truly be yourself, and when you’re part of a group of people who truly allow and encourage that in each other, and then strive together to be all God has called them to be … Wow, it’s powerful!
Isaiah Cadre Assignment
Make a commitment to one another to show this grace to each other. Talk about what that means. Listen to Joel Hanson’s song, Dangerous Man, together and discuss it. What are the advantages of not having anything to hide? What’s difficult about it? How can that be overcome? How does it make you dangerous? How does it display the power of the Holy Spirit?