“Hey, how are you today?”
“I’m fine, how are you?”
“I’m okay. It’s great to see you.”
In my experience, this is how the average small talk conversation goes. Also in my experience, at least one of these people is lying. If I’m to be totally honest, it’s usually me. An honest answer may sound more like this: “I’m struggling, I had a major panic attack last night.” Or, “I’m still working through some emotional things and trying to heal.” Yet, “I’m fine,” drops out of my mouth before I have time to think about it. It’s an easier answer to give, and for most people, an easier answer to accept.
The sad part is, so many of these conversations have happened in the church. We wake up on Sunday morning, put on our most perfect and holy mask, convince our brothers and sisters in Christ that we’re just fine, sing some songs, and go home. Why have we let the church become this, when we were created to be so much more?
Galatians 6:2 tells us, “Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way fulfill the law of Christ.” The church’s purpose, besides spreading the gospel, is to be a body of believers that lifts each other up; to be a source of support for the Christian to whom the world is so often unkind.
To members of the church, I issue this challenge: next time a brother or sister in Christ asks you how you are, be honest. Allow them to encourage you. If you happen to be on the listening end of the conversation, I challenge you to listen humbly, and without judgment. Offer advice only when you know it is wanted. Do your part to create an environment in which your fellow Christians feel safe to share. Most importantly, pray for them. We are nothing without the power of Jesus Christ.
In following this commandment, we may find ourselves uncomfortable; that’s okay. Christ first made himself uncomfortable bearing our burdens, our sin, our cross, our penalty of death. When we are honest with ourselves and our fellow believers, we proclaim what he has done for us.
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