Do you feel you can be honest with God? Do you feel you can be honest with God’s people? That’s what Timothy Lane and Paul Tripp ask as they reflect upon the shocking honesty modelled by the writer of Psalm 88. One of them then shares this challenging and stirring anecdote from their church family:
I had an epiphany one Wednesday evening in the middle of our small group meeting. People were sharing prayer requests, but it was the same old grocery list of situational, self-protective prayer requests masquerading as openness and self-disclosure.
I found myself thinking, Why did we all feel the need to clean up our prayer requests before giving them? Why were we all so skilled at editing ourselves out of our prayer requests? Why were we so good at sharing the difficult circumstances we faced, yet so afraid of talking about our struggles in the middle of them? Did we really care more about what people thought than we did about getting help? Did we really think that God would be repulsed by our sins and weakness? I wondered who we thought we were fooling. It was as if we had all agreed upon an unspoken set of rules, a conspiracy of silence.
I looked around the room. These were people I thought I knew well. I did know what many of them were facing, yet I knew little of the wars going on inside them.
I brought my thoughts back to the discussion, determined to break the silence. I didn’t think I was better than the others. I had been a willing part of the conspiracy too, but I was determined to be so no longer. That night I prayed that God would break down the walls of fear that kept us from sharing our hearts with one another and bringing to God the things that were really going on. I asked God to give us the hope, faith and courage to put our struggles into words that would reach his ears, the ultimate source of compassion, forgiveness, wisdom, and power. To my surprise, others followed with similar prayers, confessing their fears, doubts, and struggles. God began to change our group that night.
Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp, How People Change (New Growth Press, 2008), p. 99.
What have you found has led to honesty?