Oddly enough, isn't that just what Paul says about authentic relationships in Ephesians 4, that it's where we are free to speak the truth in love, free to love and be loved for who we are (not for who we pretend to be) that we become mature, we "attain to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (translation--we become like Jesus, God's goal for our character.) Could this be part of the reason we don't experience much of what God desires for us? That we find it difficult/frightening/impossible to allow anyone in close enough to see us for who we really are. "Never let hem see you sweat" might be a good campaign for a deodorant, but it stinks as a way of life, especially in the church. We were created for transparency, to experience genuineness in our friendships. But some of us are too good at the mask wearing thing, Check that--we're all too good at the mask wearing thing!
We talked a little about why this past Sunday at Oasis--busyness (which may just be a convenient way of not having to be genuine), pride (I'm not sure I want you to know who I am), individualism (I don't really need you), isolation (I am a rock, I am an island) and Poor dealing with conflict (I'm taking my ball and going home). But doing life together is not just a nice option for us. It is in the context of those relationships that we find the healing we need from the self.
I think we do this pretty well at Oasis. I've never been in a place that is as much an environment of grace as this place is. But it's a constant struggle to keep from falling into the safety of hiding. And to respond in love to the needs that are being revealed. I'm not is a "settling" kind of mood today! A mediocre family is not what I want--I want a place that when we share the worst about ourselves, we loved just as much, if not more. (Which I'm sure thrills the men out there! "Alright, we're going to get to talk about our weaknesses!!" Here's the truth--you'll be a better man/husband/father/worker because of it.)
So drop the dang pride, you're not impressing anyone in this crowd! As Denise says, this is no place for butt pucker Christians. Just a place for people who have discovered grace and can't help but live out it with each other.