It’s Okay to Not Be Okay–and The Church Should Welcome That

Continuing our discussion and building on Jason Johnson’s blog (you can read his here).

You can read my thoughts here and here and here.

And you can read what Carissa Woodwyk wrote right here.

Today, I want to take it one step further.

A quick review:

First we talked about how it’s okay to not be okay.   Our society has made it seem like we are a complete and abject failure if everything isn’t perfect.

Secondly, we talked about the relationship between not being okay and National Adoption month.   How it’s possible to be both okay and not okay at the same time.

Third, we talked about how not only is it okay to not be okay, it’s okay to admit it.   Our society has a really big problem with admitting struggles and our churches are quite often the worst places for that.

Fourth – we talked about how it’s okay to not be okay and not know what to do about it.

Today, I want to take it to another level….

Not only is it okay to not be okay and okay to admit it, but the church should welcome that.   The church should welcome that we are screwed up?   Absolutely.   For a couple of reasons:

  • If we don’t admit our struggles, then we are depriving our fellow church members of the ability to step up beside us and help and love on us in our need.   That deprives the church of a major reason for it’s existence.    Jesus said, “I didn’t come to heal the healthy, I came to heal the sick.”   Well if everyone pretends they are healthy, then we miss that opportunity.
  • Not only are we depriving people of the ability to be the hands and feet of Christ, but we’re depriving ourselves of the health and help and support that we need.   If we don’t tell anyone that we are struggling, they can’t help us.
  • If we don’t admit our struggles and admit that things are not okay, we are going to drive the hurt and the struggling away from the church.   They are going to say, “I can’t hang out with these people, they are a bunch of perfect Mr. and Mrs. Jones type.”   That’s not true but if we don’t make sure people know it’s not true, they are going to assume it is and stay away.

But in order to foster a spirit of honesty and openness, the church needs to do a couple of things:

  • It needs to encourage and foster a spirit of openness in its leadership to be open about their own personal struggles and pains.
  • The leadership of the church needs to educate the church on how to respond when people  are not okay and admit it.   If someone has the guts to admit their struggles and the fellow church member they share it with says something like,  “Chin up, God does everything for a reason,” then the church has done more  to hurt the cause of Christ.

The church needs to welcome the “not okay” part of life and do it in a way that makes people feel comfortable sharing their pain and their sorrow – that’s when real Christian growth can help.

I’m curious, how does your church do with that?

Tom

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