"Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him - a threefold cord is not quickly broken."
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
We are commanded to love each other (John 13:34). Loving each other requires helping one another out. Helping each other out requires being open and honest with each other. See where I'm going with this?
We, as the Church, are a Community. In a community, there shouldn't be anyone worrying about what people are going to think of them because they don't want to be judged. We are supposed to be there for each other through our struggles, our pain, our joys, our excitement - all of it. Openness and honesty are necessary in community so we can build each other up, pray for each other, and encourage one another (Philippians 4:3-5).
Love people as they come. If someone comes to you with something awesome that happened to them, rejoice with them! If someone is struggling with something, accept that they aren't perfect (and neither are you) and love them for who they are. But love them so much that you can't let them stay that way.
Tonight I was able to enjoy an awesome dinner with four friends I hadn't spent time with in a while. We went out to IHOP and just got to talking. I was able to share with them the amazing journey God has been taking me on (the growth and the pain) and they were able to share what's been going on in their lives. Even though I hadn't really seen them in a while, we were talking as if we saw each other all the time. There was no judgment with what we shared with each other. There was love and understanding. This is one example of how it should be.
In return, when someone is being open and honest with you, don't be afraid to do the same.
Accept the challenge, Church. Be the community we're supposed to be. Love like Christ. Do life together.
peace, love, and done ranting.