“What’s the one thing you can’t say in church?”
Anne Jackson asked that to her bloggers, which exploded so much that she actually wrote a book called “Permission to Speak Freely” based on her own experience. Her story was especially interesting because she talked about how she battled a porn addiction after an unhealthy relationship. You don’t normally hear about women struggling with porn, maybe racy romance novels, but not pornography. It was really eye-opening for me to realize that there are no stereotypical struggles. We’re all vulnerable to the tricks of the enemy.
So many times we hear about how church isn’t a place for perfect people. It’s a “hospital for sinners”… but is it really? We all like to put on a front at church. A “holier than thou” image that’s just as bad as any Pharisee in the Bible. I don’t think that church is the place where we hang our dirty laundry, but I don’t think it’s a place for judgment either. So where does the healing come? If we’re all just playing pretend, are our lives really being changed?
James talks about how we are to confess our sins to one another, to share the burden. Is this happening in the church today? Do you even know the people you go to church with? Do they know you enough to know when you’re spiraling out of control? The early church in Acts met DAILY in people’s HOMES. It wasn’t the once a week drive-thru carwash service that we’ve come to expect every Sunday.
Secret sins are the ones the enemy uses to keep us down. The whole idea of “suffering in silence” is a lie that we buy in to because we don’t want people to know how messed up we really are, how in need of a Savior we really are. When we look at people in church, often times we are comparing our blooper reel with their highlight reels. The person sitting next to you has their own struggle, even if you’re sitting next to the pastor. We need to just get over that fear and do what the Bible says and share our burdens and confess our sins. You know how the Bible says the truth shall set you free? Well, sometimes, as Glenn Beck says, “It’ll make you miserable first.” But once you are free from that burden, you can start living in victory.
I am blessed to have a church family that does the whole “small group” thing well. I have close personal friends who keep me accountable, whether I ask them to or not. If your church doesn’t have this, I would suggest bringing it up to the leaders and let them know that it’s an area that could use improvement, or even finding another church. Or finding another small group in your area. We have had a few people come to our small group who don’t even attend our church, just because they needed to connect on a deeper level with other Christians. There are options.
I know it’s scary to put your trash out on the curb for all the neighbors to see, especially if it’s been piling up for a while in your house. My advice is: don’t be a hoarder, because their houses are the ones that get condemned. (Maybe it’s just me but I think this is a clever analogy…) God gives us grace when we fall, so we don’t have to worry about the landing, but maybe you aren’t aware that He also gives us His righteousness so that we can stand back up without being under the weight of our mistakes.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. — James 5:16