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Monday, October 27, 2014

Learning To Be Honest About My Pain

In review of 2 Corinthians 6:11 it says, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide.”

Bottom Line:
Speak honestly and frankly with a wide open heart toward others.

What this means to me:
I am to speak honestly and frankly to others about my life and about my struggles. I am to care and to make sure I have room for them in my heart.

When I talk about and share my pain with others, I’ll likely have willing ears, particularly if I’m talking about a pain that others are going through. However, for God to be able to use my past experiences to help others, I need to be authentic as I communicate them. It’s important that I not sugar coat or fake what I say. I won’t be authentic if I’m not being honest and real about the past hurts in my life.

One of the best examples of this can be seen in the life of Paul. The New Testament provides examples of how Paul is honest about things in his life that we don’t normally like to talk to others about. Paul single-handedly revolutionized the Roman Empire. Christianity spread all over the world because he was willing to be honest about things that I may not be willing to be honest about. Therefore in order to help others, I must be honest about these five things:

My feelings - Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:11, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide” (GNT). Paul didn't just teach others; he opened his heart and shared his feelings. If I’m going to have an impact in the lives of others, I've got to learn to share my feelings.

My faults - This one’s a bit harder. In the Bible Paul tells us that “each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!” (Galatians 6:5 LB) It’s pretty easy to see and admit that no one is perfect. I am to be honest, humble, and specific with others about my faults.

My failures - Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15b NIV). Paul goes on to describe how he persecuted the Church and stood by while Stephen was stoned. He’s very frank about his failures.

My frustrations - Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). I don’t want to look at that, I don’t want to read that, I don’t want to act that way, I don’t want to say that, but I do. It will be that kind of gut-level honesty that will make a difference in people’s lives.

My fears - Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:20, “I do admit that I have fears that when I come, you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you” (MSG). However, every time I share a fear with someone, it does two things: It lowers the level of fear in y life, and it encourages the other person.

Paul says that we’re all broken. So why don’t I just admit it? If I hold it in, it will only make me miserable and It won’t help anybody else. I need to learn to be honest about my fears, faults, failures, frustrations, and feelings. When I can do this, I’ll obtain healing and others will be able to benefit as well.

In retrospect, I think I have difficulty in sharing some of my failures and faults because I want to appear that I have it all together and that I don’t struggle. But the truth is, I don’t quite have it all together (and probably will never be until Christ returns.). When I think back, I have benefited greatly when others have shared their fears, faults, failures, frustrations, or feelings with me. It’s comforting to know that we all share the same struggles.

I will keep this notion in mind as I follow Ephesians 4:25, in living an honest and open life before others.