This weekend I’ve been into one of my favorite passages in scripture, 1 John chapter one. I spoke on it to an adult Sunday morning class at a church in Fullerton, California, and last night in our own online Catch church service. It’s a passage that does what I like to call a flip-flop. Upon first glance you think it’s saying one thing until you start to look at it more closely and you discover it’s saying something else — sometimes quite the opposite of what you thought. 1 John chapter one is one of those.
It’s a passage that starts out establishing what fellowship really is, centered around Christ and His presence in our lives, and then seems to go on to what will get in the way of that fellowship, and upon first blush, it looks like sin is the thing that will mess this up, when all along it’s not sin that will hinder fellowship, but living like we have no sin that is the real culprit. Real fellowship is actually what comes out of stepping into the light and confessing our sins to one another. It’s what happens when we open up and share about what we’re struggling with and why we need help. 1 John 1 is all about walking in the light and walking in darkness, where the first is honesty and the second is deception.
True fellowship incorporates the inevitability of sin in our lives into what makes us real. Walking in the light is about bringing our lives out into the open. When even one person is honest in a small group, it brings out the honesty in everyone else. And when one pastor brings out the honesty in his or her life, it suddenly clears the way for honesty in the church. It only takes one to start it.
Like the story I love to tell about the staff prayer circle I sat in on while visiting a Christian camp. There were about a dozen people in this group and they started by going around the circle each one offering up a prayer request. The requests were pretty typical — an aunt dying of cancer, a son who is walking away from the Lord, help with a career decision, etc. — not that any of these were not important, but none was deeply personal; none of them telling much of anything about the person making the request. Then it came down to the last guy and he was hurting — so much so that he had little choice but to dump out his issues — a failing marriage, kids out of control, financial troubles and depression. When he was done there was a pregnant pause until someone spoke from the other side of the circle: “Can we go around again?”
That question says so much. It says that the person who asked the question wasn’t really telling the whole truth about himself — at least he hadn’t gone very deep and not very personal. He was standing back in the shadows. He hadn’t really stepped into the light. The honesty of the last guy was like a can opener for the rest of the group, paving the way for everyone else to come forward as well, which is exactly what happened.
I think we should adopt that phrase as a way of saying, “Nice try, but let’s try again. Let’s step out into the light this time and be real.” We have nothing to protect anyway. Everything from God and nothing from us means that we have nothing to lose. When we become vulnerable, Christ becomes visible.
So how about it? Can we go around again?
Why not step into the light with our Prayer Warriors right now? You can do this on line by way of a real prayer request as if we were all in a prayer circle and we came to you and you decided to step out into the light by telling the rest of us what’s really going on and what you really need. Get some much needed love, prayer and attention to your needs by clicking on the prayer button in the right hand column of this page.
Love this: ” When we become vulnerable, Christ becomes visible.” Amen!
I think I’m going to use this Sunday as a short devotion and at least food for thought before the Easter service. We will just have a few minutes, thanks to half the class being in the choir. This is very important. And I’m the worst offender!