by Rick Warren
“We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide.”(2 Corinthians 6:11 GNT)
When you talk about your pain with other people, you’re going to have a willing ear — particularly if you’re talking about pain that the other person is going through at that moment. But for God to use the pain that’s happened in your life for the good of other people, for his purposes, and for your benefit, you have to be authentic. You can’t sugar coat it. You can’t fake it. You can’t pretend. You’ve got to be real and honest about the hurts in your life.
The best example of this is the apostle Paul. As you read through the New Testament books that Paul wrote, you see that he is honest about five things in his life that we don’t normally like to talk to other people about. Paul single-handedly revolutionized the Roman Empire. Christianity spread all over the world because he was willing to be honest about things that we’re not willing to be honest about.
What are they? To help other people, you must be honest about these five things:
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 6:11, “We have spoken frankly to you; we have opened our hearts wide” (GNT). Paul didn’t just teach others; he opened his heart and shared his feelings. If you’re going to have an impact in the lives of other people, you’ve got to learn to share your feelings.
This one’s a bit harder. In the Bible Paul tells us that “each of us must bear some faults and burdens of his own. For none of us is perfect!” (Galatians 6:5 LB) It’s pretty easy to see and admit that no one is perfect. Be honest, humble, and specific with each other about your faults.
Paul says, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners — of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15b NIV). Paul goes on to describe how he persecuted the Church and stood by while Stephen was stoned. He’s very frank about his failures.
Paul says, “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out”(Romans 7:18). Do you feel that way sometimes? You don’t want to look at that, you don’t want to read that, you don’t want to act that way, you don’t want to say that, but you do. It’s that kind of gut-level honesty that will make a difference in people’s lives.
Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:20, “I do admit that I have fears that when I come, you’ll disappoint me and I’ll disappoint you” (MSG). Every time you share a fear with someone, it does two things: It lowers the level of fear in your life, and it encourages the other person.
Paul says that we’re all broken. So why don’t we just admit it? If you hold it in, it will make you miserable. It won’t help anybody else. You need to learn to be honest about your fears, faults, failures, frustrations, and feelings. When you do that, you get healing and other people get healing.
This devotional by Rick Warren was very meaningful to me and I think it is important for all those who come through our doors. May it speak to you also.