PASTOR'S PEN: Do I know you?

This past Sunday I spoke at a church that I had never been to before. They were a great group of people, very welcoming and hospitable. When I was about to get up to speak I felt I should tell them a little about myself. I told them where I was from, where I went to college and where I lived now. During the message they also learned about my love of NASCAR and a fraction of my time spent in Ecuador. That night, however, as I talked to our teens in youth group on the topic of dating I realized that, just like a date, the people there only knew what I told them. They only saw what I presented and I was certain to put my best foot forward. And, just the same, I only saw what they presented to me. As Joshua Harris said in "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," it was an “artificial environment for evaluating one’s character.”

I wonder how many times we do that week in and week out? We go to church or community events where we will see other children’s parents or certain people and make sure we only show what we want them to see. They never get to see the real you or me. They don’t truly know what your life is like or what you enjoy or fear or sin you struggle to resist. It’s all very surface level with a shallow hole where we put only those things we want others to find.

Now, of course, we shouldn’t just throw open everything about ourselves to everyone that passes by, but do you have some truly Godly people in your life that you can open up to? Do you have people that will be there for you, be a guard rail when you begin to go off the road and will encourage you to keep going when you feel like giving up? This is what the church, the people who come together to worship God, are to do for one another. Here are a few of those ‘one another’ passages:

  • “…encourage one another and build each other up.” - 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  •  “If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them.” - Luke 17:3
  • “…love one another…” - John 13:34
  • “…serve one another humbly in love.” - Galatians 5:13
  • “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.” - Ephesians 5:21
  • “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” - Galatians 6:2

Those things — encouraging, rebuking, forgiving, loving, serving, submitting to and carrying one another’s burdens are only truly possible if we dig a little deeper into one another’s lives and open ourselves up a little more.

So who do you open up to in your life? And in whose life do you need to do a little more encouraging, loving, forgiving and serving? If you are unsure of either of those, pray about it as you go out and do what Christ has commanded us to do.