Words of Hope: Fear of Being Taken In
Years ago, one of our dear friends had a church interview to lead a small group, and it had a level of harshness that surprised us all. She relayed the woman didn’t ask open-ended OR meaningful questions but interrogative and cold ones. She was shocked by the experience and asked us why the church had leadership that asked these mundane or impersonal questions and, at times, questions that seemed accusatory and suspicious. I responded I believe the fear of being seduced by men and women of violence and harm who appear to have loving hearts but who are genuine wolves among sheep could be one of the reasons. That’s what makes initial relationships challenging.
We don’t want to get snowed. We don’t want to be taken in. Yet the church continues to be taken in. I get it. I have been tricked when I was too skeptical and tricked when I was too loving. The truth is we will be tricked, and the truth is we will continue to be misled, but an even greater truth is we can arise out of being duped. This is part of the human struggle. Dad had good advice about this. He said your fear, anger, bitterness, and skepticism won’t help you avoid being tricked. It will only ensure you will for sure be tricked in the future.
The healthier you become, the healthier you will see the world. This health comes from a connection to the Holy Spirit and obedience to His love and truth. It begins by confessing our sins to ourselves and others. Health comes from our willingness to be authentic with our own ways we try and trick God, ourselves, and others. Honesty breeds honesty. As I confess my sins, I create a culture of openness, honesty, and truthfulness. The truth will set us free, and in that culture of truth, love can flourish. I am thankful my dad desired to be truthful with God and with me. I am grateful when Dad asked questions; he made them mutual, open-ended, elegant, and full of love. Dad believed conversations should leave us more connected, loved, known, and excited about God and life.
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace” – 1 Peter 4:10