When I ask people, “Where is the place you feel the most comfortable to be honest about your life?” I usually get a smattering of answers ranging from home, with friends, etc. When I change the question to, “Where is the place you feel the least free to be yourself and honest about your life?” there is a quick and common answer – church.
What a sad reality about our day – the place people feel the least ability to be honest about their questions, hurts, fears, and failures would be with those who claim to have experienced the grace and forgiveness of God.
The place of greatest transparency ought to be among the people who have claimed to have experienced the greatest amount of love, acceptance, forgiveness, and freedom! It ought to be that in that environment there is the greatest freedom to cry, laugh, ask questions, sing, pray, seek counsel, pour out our heart.
This Saturday night at Encounter, we continue in our series through the letter from James in the New Testament. James tells the believers about the kind of environment they should create – one that is a space of grace! There should be such a sense of God’s love, family, freedom, forgiveness, and hope that people would feel the freedom to express their hearts openly.
13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.14 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. from James chapter 5
Imagine that! An environment where people experienced the freedom to reveal their hearts with no judgment, no condemnation. Imagine a place where grace rushed to the side of the hurting and discouraged. Imagine a place where the needy received overwhelming reminders of what Christ had done for them and were encouraged to live in the reality of Christ’s forgiveness and righteousness. That is the place the people of God were called to be!