Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Getting Real - More Relationship Stuff

The longer I am in the church, the more it seems like relationships can end up being about our "stuff". It seems that when we try to focus on others, something goes awry and we end up looking at us. I have heard sermons on "living stones with rough edges," word of faith stuff about miraculously "walking away from addictions, but not yourself" and we all sin, so just admit it preaching, chicken-walking; finger pointing fire and brimstone, "it' not about you" teachings; as well as loads of various and sundry plastic Christian tirades. I have even said, "the Bible says that the sick need a doctor and the church is full of sick people." I still think a lot of it's true...

My wake up call was a few weeks ago when someone said, "you talk to much about your past." My wife had planted the seeds of this idea on a number of occasions and I had been thinking about it for some time. Honestly, I was hoping to someday jettison the shame of things I have done over the years.... you know, that feeling of "uggggg" when you think about something that you wish hadn't said or done. I am not even talking about the ones where you got caught or someone called you on it. I am talking about the private inner dialog you have knowing that you are the one that did or said it, and the only one that knows the truth. My wife and I have talked about these types of things many times. Some of them came out during our first round of 1000 Questions. Real is as much about your favorite candy bar as it is about your most embarrassing moment, or most traumatic experience. I couldn't put my finger on this personal fascination with how bad I was, my testimony, my experience, strength and hope; it just seem to be the "real me."

So what is real? I have a conclusion. It is the exact truth, without rationalization, blaming, excuses, justifications, half-truths or pitiful redirections about who we are, what we have done and said... both positive and negative. We can be easily buried under a deluge of shame, hurt, betrayal or anger. And that's real! What I think is important is having someone that will take those things in confidence and love you anyway. The type of love the simply knows what it's like to be a sinner, not a gossip, and cover you. I have friend that in the midst of my continued failure some years ago, simply put his hand on my shoulder and said, "I happened again didn't it?" The "real" answer was "yes." You know, I haven't thought about that incident for a long time. Why? Because I gave the real, embarrassing, shameful, humbling answer. Once it was truthfully out, the inner dialog stopped. Confessing your sin can healing; really healing.

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