I was listening to the song, Truth Be Told by Matthew West the other day. I thought, Wow, this is relatable.
“I say I’m fine, yeah I’m fine, oh I’m fine, hey I’m fine, but I’m not. I’m broken. And when it’s out of control I say it’s under control but it’s not. And you know it. I don’t know why it’s so hard to admit it. When being honest is the only way to fix it. There’s no failure, no fall. There’s no sin you don’t already know. So let the truth be told. There’s a sign on the door that says ‘Come as you are’ but I doubt it. ‘Cause if we lived like it was true every Sunday morning pew would be crowded. But didn’t you say the church should look more like a hospital. A safe place for the sinner, the sick and the scarred and the prodigals.”
It can be hard to be honest about our struggles. Everyone has different sins that they struggle with. We all have other things that we struggle with as well. It can make it even more difficult if you share a sin you’re struggling with and the church is unwelcoming to you. We all have sins we struggle with. Yes, we should keep each other accountable, but you need to have a relationship with someone before you can hold them accountable. If you just tell people everything they are doing wrong without having a relationship with them that is not being loving. Jesus called us to love everyone. Yes, you can hold people accountable, if you have a relationship with them, but if you don’t have a relationship with them, you don’t know their heart. If a woman shares with you that she had an abortion in her past, telling her she is a horrible person will not make her want to come back to church. God loves everyone. He desires a relationship with everyone. I often think the “church” can be what turns people away from God.
“Jesus answered them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor- sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.’” Luke 5:31-32 NLT
Of course, everyone makes mistakes. I used to be a lot more judgmental. Of course, I normally kept my judgment to myself, but being self-righteous is also a sin. A lot of churches seem to turn a blind eye to some sins, but shun people who have made mistakes in other ways. I believe this has gotten better, but some churches will not let people come to their church anymore if they are pregnant before they are married. However; gossiping about these people is completely acceptable. We all struggle with different sins. God has forgiven all of us. We should, too. This morning, I read in Luke 7 about the woman who came and anointed Jesus’ feet with oil. The Pharisee He was eating with asked Jesus why he would let her do this; he thought she was too sinful of a woman. However; she had come to worship Jesus. Jesus forgave her sins because she loved Him. Jesus will forgive our sins if we ask Him to. We need to remember to speak the truth in love. If someone new comes to your church, show them love before you point out everything they are doing wrong. Everyone has struggles; they are just different.
“If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.” 1st John 1:8-10 NLT
Another thing that can be hard to talk about in the church is mental health. I also believe this has gotten better, but it definitely could improve more. While growing up, I felt my depression and anxiety were a sin. That can be very difficult when you pray so hard for it to stop and it doesn’t. You can wonder what is wrong with you. I have finally accepted that they are mood disorders and not a sin. I’m thankful I go to a church that recognizes mental illnesses the same as physical illnesses. I also thought my intrusive thoughts were a sin until recently. I have accepted I have a chemical imbalance in my brain, but OCD does always cause me to second-guess myself. I will think, these are intrusive thoughts… but what if they’re not? Do I really want these horrible thoughts? Do I actually have OCD? Am I making this all up in my head? However; since I have been diagnosed with OCD, it is easier than it used to be.
It can be difficult to share our mental health struggles no matter what situation we are in. I was extremely afraid to tell anyone about my intrusive thoughts. I still don’t share my most distressing ones with very many people. It was difficult to admit when I was suicidal. I didn’t want people to think I was crazy. No one thought I was crazy. I was able to get the medication, therapy, and diagnosis I needed. If you are struggling with your mental health don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are suicidal, please ask for help. Your family and friends WOULD NOT be better off without you. If you don’t feel like you have any good family or friends, God loves you. I love you. You are so loved. It’s never a good time to end your life.
Suicide Prevention Hotline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org