Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Every Tuesday morning I have the opportunity to host a men’s Bible study at the church. The purpose of the group is to become men of integrity and honesty. As best I can, I try to create an environment that is conducive for each man to share the real facts about their own life – the hidden stuff (the 3% stuff) – many times we can share the 97% stuff of our life and keep back the final 3%. It’s important for us to share the brutal facts of our life in a trusted environment; here’s what James chapter 5 tells us:
James 5:16 (ESV)
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
What does it look like to confess your sins? Some might say that it is enough to simply share that I struggled last week and leave it at that… but when I consider the full story of James I have to go back to James 4 and live out the truth of that passage as well:
James 4:6 (ESV)
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
For me to simply say I have had struggles last week is not a humbling or a real confession of sin. Instead, God makes it clear that if I want His GRACE on my life I need to humble myself and a great way to do it is sharing 100% of the junk in my life with other godly people. When confession like that happens our words actually become gifts to others. When we get past the “superficial” / “Surface” conversation and start sharing from our heart what is really wrong with us, those trusted friends are actually drawn TO us and not repulsed by us. That’s odd because in our minds, oftentimes we think we need to give the perception that WE GOT IT ALL TOGETHER; and then people will like and accept us. But it’s the opposite that is true, when we share our deep junk with trusted friends they are drawn to us.
Why is that? Why would they be drawn to us?
Because we gave them a gift with our words. We gave them a part of our heart and we are trusting them with it. A true friend will take those deep words and accept us and pray for us.
Proverbs 20:5 (ESV)
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Being a true friend, a godly friend, a trusted friend, means we will take the time and ask the questions that will draw out the “deep waters” from the heart. It takes time. It takes a humble spirit. And it takes acceptance.
Who are the TRUE friends in your life – those two or three people that you can share EVERYTHING with and know that you will not get a sermon back? Who are those friends that will ACCEPT you NO MATTER WHAT YOU SAY or CONFESS? I hope you have them in your life; and what’s more, I hope you are sharing the deep waters of your heart with them – it is your gift of words to them. Take time this week to schedule a lunch with your friends to share with them your hurts, struggles, and sinfulness – then experience God’s grace as you share with those friends.