Monday, November 09, 2009

Confessional Community - In The Bigger Picture

You’re aware that I’ve talked before about confessional community (there was this one, then that one before the other one). It is something that I desperately desire and there have been experiences where I’ve caught a glimpse of what that life might look like. This evening I had the chance to talk with a dear friend of mine about how some of our church experiences actually prevent that level of confession and transparency to take place and how some of the leadership junk we take on board further alienates us from getting the help we so need when the way of Christ actually promoted brotherhood.

I love that honesty and vulnerability not just to satiate the therapeutic side of me, but to really deal with what it will take for Christ to be formed in me. That is a love for someone else to enter their hurt and pain on the understanding that it likewise leaves you open to someone else entering your hurt and pain in a bid for presence and love to help heal that hurt and pain however long it takes.

Today was another one of those highly compressed, potentially mega stressed scenarios. It didn’t all work in my favour and I was frustrated at times and it was so easy to get absorbed in my own problems to the neglect of others. God as ever though stopped that self-indulgent rubbish almost immediately. Another friend of mine came to see me today right in the middle of all the busyness and shared with me how his marriage is on the rocks and he’s currently separated from his wife.

This guy is a Christian. This is a man who has shown a tremendous servant heart in helping others not the least of whom is me. Here is a guy who I know makes every endeavour to follow the path that God has set for him. Yet here he is facing such a heart-rending and painful period. Not only that, rather than hide it in religiosity and busyness, he’s choosing to share the issue with a brother, who himself in going through the wringer albeit in another area of life.

So what are we supposed to do just keep it to ourselves, just muddle through on our own? No. Are we meant to get into a group huddle and sob over our issues as if we’re a self-help group? That’s not what fellowship is about – that’s not what confessional community promotes. Bearing each other’s burdens, confessing our faults one with another is submitting ourselves to each other and to Christ in that effort to leave ourselves open to His mercy and slowly but surely having our characters conformed after His own.

That at times requires challenging each other to holiness as well as compassionately walking with brethren through some very difficult decisions.

I am glad that following Jesus is not about getting the right answers, or having things work out as we would like them. I am glad that following Jesus takes us through valleys as well as mountaintop experiences. I am glad that following Jesus is just as much about living in my weakness and pain as it is about rejoicing in victories.

This song has ministered to me in terms of what our loving Father does and how our anguished cry to Him in those dark nights of the soul has to be for our precious Lord to take our hand and lead us home. Remember my friend in your prayers. Remember me in your prayers as well, so that this amazing love that we experience every day may swell our hearts with a desire for His presence and a passion to see the broken-hearted healed by sharing this amazing love.

For His Name's Sake



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