Call to Honesty
Summertime has arrived in the Okanagan, and that means HOT. Sunscreen, popsicles, sprinklers and sweaty kids. It also means a lot more exposed skin, running, and tripping. Which results in a lot of owies. At this time of year, we have a few minutes when kids arrive every morning of comparing their owies. I'm not sure why they love this so much, but I have to say I think they're on to something. I think they are proud to show their strength, and tell their stories. These little ones are giving testimony. In our modern church culture we often lean towards the opposite. Hiding our owies, ashamed and afraid of letting anyone know the truth. Addiction, financial failure, affairs, etc - these are the owies that we hide. Depression is definitely something you don't want to let anyone in the church see. It's not just church culture, I think it's the way of the world. Don't let anyone see you fail. Be strong and independent, success is most important. But isn't this Kingdom on earth supposed to be upside down? Aren't we supposed to be uncomfortably different, the same way our Saviour was? What if we could flip that on it's head in our churches - show our owies without shame, and give testimony to the One who heals us? That is the kind of community I want to be a part of, the family I long for. Whether it's a faded scar or a raw and bleeding wound, there is much to be gained from letting others see it. My kids show their owie, and then love to tell the story of how it happened. They teach each other which things are dangerous, how to avoid them, and the good news that Daddy helped pick them up, kissed the owie and made it better. Story telling is a powerful tool, it's historically been the primary method for teaching and passing on knowledge. The Word tells us that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
What if we could tell our stories not only when they're complete and neat and tied with a beautiful bow, but when we're in the middle of them? Imagine with me, a church where we model for each other how to survive the middle of the story and not just the end. I wish I'd had people around me who said hey, I have these wounds, and they still hurt, but God is here and He is good. To show me how to give testimony during the process. Because that's where I find myself now, in the middle, in pain, without all the answers. Our Father is not scared of the owies we get, so why are we?
I think we are all aching for a church that no longer deals with wounds in the secret. A place where things are not hidden and even lied about. The problem is, when we hide them and deny them, we tell ourselves and others that we should be ashamed. The problem of secrecy is that it gives power to the pain. It sends the message that are owies should be kept hidden, and thus the healing work of God is hidden.
I had a dream recently, where dozens of people were coming to my house with bleeding, open wounds. Gunshots, all of us (me included). Each person went to work healing the wound of another - cleaning it out and stitching it up. While they were still wounded. As I looked around the room, wounded people were helping wounded people. Sometimes wincing with their own pain, but still caring for the one in front of them. May this be an encouragement to us all, to tell our stories and testify to the God who heals.