“We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” 1 Th. 2:8.
Let’s all face it… life is messy and we all have mud on our hands. The Bible is filled with story after story of families whose lives intersected with not-so-pretty moments: murder (Cain and Abel), sibling betrayals... (Esau and Jacob), parental favoritism (Rebekah), family members’ jealousy (the prodigal and his brother), and marital disharmony (Abraham and Sarah). Fairy tale living didn’t splash its way upon the Holy Writ because the Bible is God’s truth, and the truth is that ministries are born in the unselfish transparency of life. Hiding behind a well-placed mask for the sake of image provides no gain to others. Instead, it alienates people from those who God could use if they would allow their prideful mask to fall. God could have chosen a million different stories to inspire in the Bible, but He chose the messiness and failure of man over and over again.
Personally, over my adult life I have desperately needed those honest people to share with me their failures and painful journeys as an encouragement that seasons do change and situations will improve. I have been that broken person who needed another’s testimony, opening their heart and rehashing their pain for my benefit. Never once have I been truly lifted up by a person whose life seemed to be perfect. I read one time that true love works for the benefit of another. I have never forgotten that statement and have found it to be true. God calls us all to true and perfect love in Him. While there are much needed boundaries in the details of our experiences, we are called to share those messy times through which we have advanced to comfort and encourage others. When we sit on top of our secrets we place ourselves outside of the reach of helping others. To genuinely fellowship, we must put our hearts and experiences out there for God to use for others. We benefit daily from the transparency of the Bible and the messy lives that are exposed to us for our benefit. 'We're called by Christ to serve people. We each get to decide how vulnerable we're going to be in the process.' Children of the Day, Beth Moore.
Like Paul, we are all called as Christians to share not only the message of God with others, but to also share our lives as well… the pretty… the ugly… and the messy. God will guide us through the details of our experiences, so that what we share will both edify and encourage the Body of Christ. Our weaknesses and failures continue the story of man and how he needs a Savior before a watching world.