As I mentioned in a recent post, not long ago my friend Sara launched a local workshop for singles under the covering of her church and pastor. I signed up right away, and am eager to share what I’m learning with you.
We recently completed session two. I absolutely adored it; the teaching was beyond eye-opening. It was all about living a “nothing hidden” lifestyle in relationships. A married couple shared their experience of when they began dating, and lessons they learned.
The teaching started off back in the garden with Adam and Eve. When sin entered the world, so did shame and guilt and hiding and feelings of not being good enough. There, understanding was opened and they saw their nakedness. They were ashamed of not only what they had done, but who they were.
Sadly, we have carried that shame with us. We carry it into every space and every relationship in our lives. We don’t intend to live this way, but so often we do. It leads to tremendous damage in our relationships.
So does the tongue. There are countless verses about the tongue. It houses much more power than we think or remember. I know I can forget or underestimate its power. I can be careless with my words. I can be flippant and even hurtful sometimes. That kind of speech will never make for a successful relationship of any kind.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. Proverbs 15:2
Open communication is one of the hardest beasts for me to conquer. I have an avoidance personality. I would rather pretend circumstances don’t exist than to confront them head on. I don’t do well with confrontation. I’m not sure many people actually do. It’s hard and awkward. Honestly, it gives me a bit of anxiety. I grew up in a home where yelling and anger was the norm. There were no heart to heart conversations. There were no life lessons taught. There were only harsh words, insults and accusations thrown wildly into the atmosphere. My soul was depleted.
When I became a Christian, I had to learn a new way of thinking when it came to healthy confrontation. I am no expert, but I have come leaps and bounds beyond where I once was. I practice “brave communication,” as Bethel Church has coined it.
It looks something like this:
Speak truth in love.
Truth spoken is always done best in the context of a relationship. Truth spoken in love wins out every time. When in any sort of relationship, there should be truth spoken. We should feel safe enough to share how we feel and what we think. It should never come from a prideful or malicious place. This truth should always desire the best for the other and foster growth and wholeness.
Hiding hinders God’s love through us.
We all know that lying is a sin and does not create trust in a relationship, but do we think about how much a lie of omission can be just as harmful? The enemy likes it when we keep secrets and when we choose not to trust someone with the truth. He likes it when we become isolated with our thoughts. It’s there where he can convince you that the other person won’t understand, or worse, not love you because of your honesty.
We are to be empty vessels for God’s love to flow through. When we hold tight to our secrets, we block the flow of His Spirit. We quench Him. We sadden Him. All the Lord wants to do is to flow through yielded vessels so that He can perform a lasting work in each person’s life. Those lives can then bring Him much glory.
Living truthful is an act of faith.
This statement right here says it all, doesn’t it? Obviously, from my past, you can imagine all of the trust issues that come along with it. I know many people and I make friends easily. But I still find it hard to trust. In my mind, I think that not everyone can handle my personality or quirks or temperament or scars. But it’s not true. It’s not true for me; it’s not true for you. Allowing God to place us in safe community and safe relationships pleases His heart in a huge way. Allowing ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable there pleases Him even more. Our relationships can then thrive and flourish the way God intends for them to.
When we live truthful lives with those around us, it brings healing and wholeness to us and others.
After the teaching, we were instructed to write a letter from God to ourselves. If you’ve never done this, I highly recommend it. It requires us to be still, open up our spirits to truly hear from Him about how He feels about us. It was such a sweet time in His presence, and an opportunity to reflect truth back to myself in ways I needed to hear.
Do you struggle with being completely open and honest in any of your relationships? Why or why not?