“I know Scripture commands us to confess our sins to one another, in order to be healed, but I am also learning to confess my needs, my struggles, even my true state of being. And restoration waits there, too.

So come all you who are weary and exhausted, all you who have poured out of your depths to fill another: be filled, be restored, receive for once. Wherever you find your church, let them be the ones you turn to when you are tired. Let us pray for one another, let us hold fast, let us confess.”    Sarah Bessey – “Confessions

Sarah explains very clearly one of the reasons that I wrote the book.   You know, the book that I’ve been teasing you about with short quotes from it every day for the last week?   The book that will be released on Amazon on the day that I “celebrate” the half century mark?   (Insert comment about how 50 is the new 40, please?)

The book about church.  Because church can be so powerful.

And so frustrating.   All at the same time.

And one of the powerful things that church can be and do is be a place where it’s okay to say, “I’m not okay.”    “I’m hurting.”   “I’m really wrestling with…….”

And too often people in church don’t know how to be okay with people who are hurting.   People don’t know how to “sit” with other people’s pain.    Either they don’t know how or they aren’t willing to.

Most often, those who are hurting don’t expect you to solve their problems.    They just want you to “Sit with Me.”   They just want to know that they are accepted in their hurt and their sorrow.    And they “might” want you to help point them to someone who can help solve their problem.

But you don’t have to solve their problems.   You just have to be with them.    Encourage them.   Let them know they aren’t alone.   Listen to their cry.   Sometimes it’s a cry for help.    Sometimes it’s a cry to just be heard.

Sometimes it’s a cry to be recognized.   Recognized as a person with value, as a child of God.

Church can be a phenomenal place for this to happen.

Too often, it doesn’t happen at church and that’s sad.

More often, it happens on Facebook.    Where people with similar hurts and passions and life experiences can connect.    Not in random silly posts about what you had for dinner or cat videos or vacation pictures.    Not in #TBT throw back Thursday pictures.

But in deep meaningful soul baring conversations.   Private conversations that happen one on one, or in small groups – or sometimes in larger groups.    Places where  people will accept hurt, accept pain and walk with you in it.

That’s the way the church should be.    But it usually isn’t.

I’m part of a rather large group on Facebook that was started by Jon Acuff – that group isn’t church but it does this part of church amazingly well.     I love being there for that.  I love seeing that.  

Let’s all do what we can to make church more like that part of Facebook.

Tom