My friend Melody sent me a great question the other day!
“Should Christians conceal or confess their struggles to their unchurched friends? Should we let them think we have it more together than we do? Does that strategy bring glory to God or to me?
Would my honesty make it seem like my faith doesn’t work for me?
Should Christians conceal or confess their struggles to their fellow believers? How would they respond? Would they come along side? Or would they distance themselves?”
What do you think?
(Melody wrestles with this question on her blog – check it out here.)
7 thoughts on “Should Christians tell their non-christian friends about their weaknesses?”
I think that we are always called to live real, honest lives. I like the way John Eldredge put it (I am probably paraphrasing) “Let them feel the weight of who you are and let them deal with it.”
If we are honest with both other followers of Jesus and people who are not following Him we are just being real with who we are. If others can’t deal with it then they have to deal with that issue.
Difficult? YES. Necessary? YES!
Disclaimer: This by no means gives us the right to abuse others with our thoughts, opinions, etc.
I certainly don’t think we need to overwhelm our unchurched friends with the deep intimate details of our struggles, but I do believe giving them an “outlined’ version of our struggle is good. It gives them the chance to know that we are a human, just like them, going through trials too, but also letting them know that we are trusting in our Lord to get us through the trial with a peace that only He can give. If our unchurched friends can see that we are dependent upon Jesus by trusting in Him and have a greater peace because of it, they may want to know how they can have that peace too when they go through their own struggles.
I never want to “puke” all the gory details on my friends, but I would like them to know that they are welcome to comfort me, as I would want to comfort them too.
Well, I think open and honest is the only way to go. If you portray yourself as having it all together, when people find out otherwise, then people will think your a phony, a hypocrtite…. and truthfully, if your portraying yourself as something your not, then you are.
Just my thoughts.
It seems to me that any sharing that we do about struggles ought to be in one of two categories:
1. OVERCOME — by the grace of God, He has rescued me from that and he can rescue a) the same thing or b) a similar kind of thing that you are dealing with right now
2. OVERCOMING — by the grace of God, I have realized that this is in direct violation of His will for my life; He is helping me overcome that even now by __________ (fill in the blank with the Scripture basis, the action plan, the little victories in battles on the way to winning the war)
If we simply share, “yeah I got that junk too” then we leave the door open to a “what’s so great about Jesus” confusion. I am NOT saying bury your junk until you have it all together. I AM saying that the vital, vibrant, victorious Christian life, one that follows Christ is worth sharing and inviting others to “come and see”. An invitation to the same old life that they were leading before is just an invitation to your social club for sinners. They can get that anywhere.
We ought to be a “come as you are” church, but we should never encourage people to “stay as you are”.
It depends on the circumstances and how good of a “friend” they are. True friends should be open and honest with each other whether they are a Christian or not. Acquaintances are a different matter.
People who sit at my kitchen table know a whole lot more about me than the ones I see in the parking lot.
A wise man once told me, “keep your circle small.”
Not every person you know needs to wrestle with your struggles. You don’t need to be phony, but you don’t have to air your private life to the world, either.
Discretion is the better side of valor.
It’s true, not everyone we come in contact with, or even people we may work with daily, needs to hear about our struggles. The question as I understood it was: Should we share our weaknesses with our un-churched “friends”.
I would never suggest walking up to someone and saying: “Hi. My name is Brad. I’m a Christian and by the way I struggle with pornography, I drink too much, work too much, abuse prescription drugs, sometimes I doubt God, I struggle to understand prayer…. oh yeah, I am secretly lust after my neighbors wife.” They’ll be running for the nearest security guard.
Ha Ha!!! Brad’s comment made me laugh out loud!! Of course that’s not what I mean. What I am wondering is…In order to be a good witness for Christ, do I need to hide my struggles? Sometimes I get the impression that a lot of Christians think they need to always be smiling and happy in order to make God look good. To make Christianity look appealing. It frustrates me because it’s like the used car sales man and his false advertising. Sincere transparency has it’s time and place. It’s a discernment we need to come from the Holy Spirit’s leading.
My next question is…If you know a brother is living in sin and he hasn’t confessed it, what should you do?