Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” ~ Matthew 26:38
When I was a young Christian, I grew up in the “Word of Faith”/”Prosperity” movement. At times it seemed almost cultish, everything you said had to be tempered with positive, faithfilled promising scriptures. There was virtually no tolerance for negative talk, doubt or transparency. When ask “how are you”, anything less than the proverbial “I am blessed” response was met with an indicting, condemning judgement of “where’s your faith?”.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe God’s Word, cherish the promises and blessings, and exercise my unconditional and unwavering faith daily. My question and concern is when did truth, transparency and the human experience become taboo, vain and faithless? The reality we live in is a world full of depravity, pain, suffering, grief, disappointment, defeat, sorrow, trial and misery. Yes, it is often accompanied by life, love, joy, praise, excitement, blessing, reward and fulfillment.
The human experience is filled with both, even more so the Christ follower walk. To walk out the fullness of God means to walk through the passion of His love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, discipline, wrath, judgment, redemption, sanctification and salvation. We see this evidence throughout the scriptures particularly in the Psalms of David, “the man after God’s own heart”, and Christ, His Son, in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Why is it we can’t handle the truth, despair and transparency of our brothers and sisters, yet we tolerate the toiling rhetoric of David and Christ, as well as almost all the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Bible? Why are we so compelled to speak in positive cliches, platitudes and quotes, we don’t really believe or practice, and demand everyone around us to do the same. In my experience the last thing anyone who is hurting wants to hear is something positive, inspiring, encouraging or spiritual.
What they truly need is someone to listen, cry, grieve, understand and pray. Just because we have of weak moment where we express our human experience doesn’t mean we lack faith. On the contrary, we may be battling to exercise our faith, agonizing between our natural pain and our supernatural spirit, on our way to that moment of divine victory.
How we respond may be the catalyst to someone winning in Christ or falling prey to the enemy’s attacks. Don’t be so quick to condemn and judge someones perceived expression of weakness, it may be they are stronger than you are.
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~ 2 Corinthians 12:10