Love can only thrive where truth reigns.
Thirty-five years ago, Sara and I had some friends over for dinner. At the end of the evening, as we walked with them to their car, the husband pulled me aside to tell me something. “Do you know that you talked about yourself all night and what you’re excited about but never once asked about what I’m doing?”
I was embarrassed beyond words, but fortunately, I didn’t retreat to my defenses. I thought through the night and realized to my horror that he was right. I told him he was right and how sorry I was to be so focused on myself.
As painful as it was to hear, his comments were a wonderful gift to me and changed my awareness of others in every conversation I’ve had since. He didn’t have to tell me that, and he took a great risk in doing so. He could have just let the relationship whither in my selfishness, but he loved me enough to tell me the truth and let me see his disappointment. It not only gave me the opportunity to change but deepened our relationship.
Many Christians I’ve met over the years fall into the mistaken notion that in relationships “nice is better than honest” and are afraid to be genuine for fear of whatever backlash may result. There’s often good reason for that in a conformity-based culture where those in authority respond in abusive and hurtful ways toward anyone who dares to disagree with them. Perhaps that’s why so many people are always saying what they think the other person wants to hear instead of being honest.
Without genuineness and vulnerability, however, relationships stay superficial and become fraught with tension. You’ll find yourself avoiding people you haven’t been honest with, perhaps even blaming them for your fear of what truth might uncover. And it’s true that not everyone is worthy of your honesty or deserves access to your heart especially if they crush it with their own selfishness.
But the real power of relationships and the environment that nurtures them comes where people are vulnerable and genuine. Brokenness and fear grow in the darkness, healing and joy do so in the light. That’s why Paul wrote, “… speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Growth only happens where what’s true can be expressed in gracious and tender affection. I know that’s almost a lost art in the 21st Century, but it’s worth recovering. Affection will die when people care more about ‘getting along’ than they do engaging in honest conversations.
So, it behooves us all to learn to be genuine in our engagements with people, and for us to learn how to be a soft place for the vulnerability of others. Sure, it’s a risk, every time, but without it, you’ll never discover the depth, beauty, and power that arises from being heart-felt relationships. You can start in small ways with people you trust to hold your honesty well, even if they may not see eye-to-eye with you. That way you can discover who is safe for such conversations, and I suspect there are far more of those than your fears want you to believe.
IN OTHER NEWS…
The Jake Colsen Book Club
The next meeting of the Jake Colsen Book Club to explore the content of So You Don’t Want to Go To Church Anymore will meet this Saturday, July 2, at 1:00 pm PDT. The third chapter deals with Christian education and how it indoctrinates us into behavioral conformity as the process for discipleship when it is precisely the opposite of that. Growing in the life of Jesus is a transformational reality inside his affection, which explains why our attempts at self-effort conformity always fall short.
We stream these live on my Facebook Author Page for those who don’t want to be in the Zoom discussion. If you want to be in the conversation, please email me one week before each session, and I’ll send you the link you need to join us. There will always be reminders on my blog a few days before our scheduled time. You can subscribe to the blog at the top right of my blog pages.
The links change with every session and you have to get the current link by emailing me before the Zoom session begins. You’re welcome to join us for all the sessions or only for the chapters that most interest you. You’ll need to sign up each time to have a spot in the Zoom room.
Three months ago 300 children were suddenly abandoned at the Forkland School we have supported for many years. It is an impoverished community with lots of drug and alcohol abuse. We helped them when a flood ruined their cistern by digging them a new well. Gratefully, it hit a huge water source that enabled them to supply the community with free water as well as bottle it for resale to support the school.
A few months back, we helped them buy the land next door, which the state required them to do to keep caring for the number of students they had. Then a couple of months ago these children were abandoned on their doorstep. We helped feed them for a few months before they were required to build dormitories. Due to the generosity of one man, we built dormitories and a dining hall for their use.
However, expenses for the care, feeding, and education of those children total about $6500 per month. We did not want to get caught in an ongoing expense here, so we appealed to them to look for a more effective solution. They presented us with a proposal to add $75,000 to the grain enterprise we set up with those we work with in the area as a way to generate that revenue every month going forward. We could use some help to offset that cost to help these orphaned children have a hope and future.
As always, every dollar you send us gets to the people in Kenya, and all contributions are tax-deductible in the US. We do not take out any administrative or money transfer fees. Please see our Donation Page at Lifestream. Just designate “Kenya” in the “Note” of your donation, or email us and let us know your gift is for Kenya. You can also Venmo contributions to @LifestreamMinistries (or use the QR Code at left). Finally, we also still take checks mailed to Lifestream Ministries • 1560 Newbury Rd Ste 1 • Newbury Park, CA 91320. Or, if you prefer, we can take your donation over the phone at (805) 498-7774.
Let Me Read to You
People are constantly asking me if any of my books are available in audio format. Many of them are and, except for The Shack, I’m the one doing the reading. So, if you want me to read one of my books to you, you can order from the links below:
- He Loves Me – Audible | iTunes
- So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore – Audible | iTunes
- The Shack – Audible | iTunes
- A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation (read by all three authors) – Audible |
- Finding Church – Audible | iTunes
- In Season – Audible |