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CBN.com My travels take me into all sorts of worlds, and as a result, I meet all kinds of people. As Pat Robertson once stated to me, "You have the best job in the place!" And in many ways that is true; yet at the same time, I am terribly aware of the void that exists in so many peoples' lives. However, many of us have practiced covering it up by distancing others, by activity, by acquiring things, by various defense mechanisms, and even by religion. As a result we find ourselves lonely, isolated, and oftentimes, misunderstood. As much as we would like to open up and be real, we are unable to because of fear. The fear that if you really knew me... you would reject me.
Some time ago I was in a discussion with someone who was angry about a number of things, and he was spewing out a litany of offenses. When he had finished his diatribe, I said to him, "None of that is the real issue." "What do you mean?" my friend replied. "Well, isn't the real issue much deeper? Isn't it a sexual problem you have been struggling with for some time and can't seem to overcome?" I responded. "How did you know that?" he said with astonishment. "Well, it's not the gift of suspicion," I replied, "rather, it is more due to the fact that I have known you for a while, and you're not as good of an actor as you think you are. However, I do think God does give us occasional insight into these things so we can help one another. And this is important." I continued, "Now that I am aware of this very personal problem, I will not betray you. Also, I do not reject you. Finally, if you allow me to, we can prayfully walk this out together in truth until you are no longer a captive to lust." He wept.
Today we are still walking this out (which sometimes means midnight phone calls), but there is more than light at the end of the tunnel; it is the light we live in daily. None of this makes me a hero, simply a friend and a brother. Remember the Hollies' song of years ago: "HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER" (or sister)? Even though it was a song, it is also spiritual, "Bear one another's burdens." This is only one of numerous "one another's" in the New Testament. We are to encourage one another, give to one another, confess to one another, sing to one another, teach one another, admonish one another (a lot of people feel called to that one!), respect one another, forgive one another, serve one another, etc. In a word this is the definition of loving one another, not just in word but in deed.
The Christian life is not an institution. It is relationships and family. Jesus built a relationship with His disciples eventually calling them His friends. And He certainly wasn't religious. Religion and religious people are superficial, and Jesus has come to set us free from all that performance relationally, naturally, and spiritually.
We all need somewhere we can be real, where we can "gut out" and be vulnerable with no fear of rejection or betrayal. First, of course, that is with the Lord. He is not shocked by anything you are going through. He is the one who has chosen to be our friend and as we lovingly obey Him, that relationship becomes more intimate. Anything we are doing or going through is a family affair. Likewise, everything the Lord Jesus hears from the Father, He makes known to us, so that we become more fruitful. As that union matures, if we lack anything, we can ask the Father in Jesus's name and He will give it to us. And trust Him, He means something more valuable than a Mercedes!
Now, here's the kicker. The Lord then tells us to turn around and share our benefits or failures with our friends. As someone once said, "The world (or family, or church) would be fine if it weren't for the people!" Most of us don't have any problem with the Lord. It's His friends that give us grief. However, that is where all this is worked out.
Ask Jesus's disciples.
The fact is, we belong not only to Him but to one another. We don't live unto ourselves, and whether you accept it, or are aware of it or not, when one member suffers we all do. But when one member rejoices or is successful, we should all rejoice and share in his or her success, because we are members one of another.
The bottom line: "Two can accomplish more than twice as much as one for the results can be much better. If one falls, the other pulls him up, but if a man falls when he is alone, he's in trouble. Also, on a cold night, two under the same blanket gain warmth from each other, but how can one be warm alone? And one standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer; three is even better, for a triple braided cord is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)
With a lot of help from my Friend "who sticks closer than a brother" and a little help from my friends, we will become a real and functional family.
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