Several years ago I saw a colleague at a pastors’ meeting in Chicago. He asked me, “How are you doing, Beth?” I replied, “I’m fine, thanks.” He responded, “Is that the truth?”
Ouch. It wasn’t the truth. I had just dealt with a difficult staff issue and was pretty bruised. His honest question caught me out.
Parker Palmer, founder and Senior Partner Emeritus of the Center for Courage & Renewal, says that honest questions are questions we ask without knowing the answer beforehand. We aren’t “leading the witness” to get them to say what we think they should say. Rather, an honest question helps a person get to the root of what they are thinking, feeling, or observing. I think honest questions form a basis for true, spiritual friendships.
At Redeemer Church, we aim to be a learning congregation that passes on life wisdom in a caring and supportive community. That is why we value a transparent community so highly. We see this in our men’s group that meets every other Thursday night. These guys talk turkey about hard issues at home and work. They pray for one another, celebrate victories, and check up on each other. I hear they have even paused their conversations at the pub to pray, if the need arises.
Who is asking you honest questions about your life? Please don’t believe you are a failure if you don’t have all the answers figured out already. None of us do. Keeping up a brave front is really the coward’s way out because it means we haven’t honestly faced the hard, nitty gritty questions.
I am thankful for a community of grace that lets me and others be our real selves and still be loved. That’s a Jesus community. I call it “Redeemer Covenant Church.”