Phil, one of the contributors to “Chronicles of the Way“, has written a post called “No Big Deal, just a better deal!” He examines what it means to be yourself with other believers. He makes the following observation:
The churches I grew up in and attended as an adult usually consisted of hollow ” how are you’s” and quick greetings in a hallway somewhere. No one really knew what was going on in anyones life. We were reluctant to share our pains and our victories for fear of judgement by others. “Church” was usually quite painful and uncomfortable for the most part. It’s like when you put on the suit, you also put on another person. The person you wanted the outside world to see. Not everyone in every church made me feel this way, but most did.
I am learning to be myself with the church. One of the greatest things that has happened to me recently is when someone asked me how I was doing. Without thinking, I said, “I’m okay.” They replied, “No you’re not. Something is wrong.”
Isn’t it amazing when we begin to know one another in such a way that we can tell when everything is not “okay”. I’m learning to respond truthfully when I’m sick, or sad, or overwhelmed, or disappointed, or encouraged… Some may not understand. Some may not care. But, others truly want to know and will love me anyway.
Now, can I care about others who are not “okay”?