Monday, January 28, 2008
I had reviewed this book a long time ago. I thought I needed to revisit this issue one more time. Sheila Walsh and her book "Honestly" is one of the best books that I think I've ever read. That's quite a statement, as I have read so many. Plus, I had the pleasure of interviewing her some years ago. I will parallel her book with Michael English's "The Prodigal Comes Home" and Beth Moore's "Get Out Of That Pit." So, in a way today's post is a bit of an omnibus.
Sheila as many know went through an emotional breakdown while being at CBN. She admitted herself to a hospital to get better. Michael English's fall was fodder for the media after his downfall was made apparent. Sheila became better when she faced her fears and found out who she was in Christ. It took a lot of courage for Sheila to write about some of the intimate details of her life. I commend her for that.
You see, we sometimes think that everyone in the faith will have "our back" so to speak. That isn't true. Trust is earned. My personal views are that you should choose your inner circle of friends very carefully. In life, if you have just three or four people that you can tell everything to, you are better off. Not everyone will want to know the details of your life. Sometimes those that do, just want gossip. And, that isn't what restoration is all about. It irks me too, when there are those that say they care about others and then do nothing or very little to help that fallen or troubled believer.
So, pick your "inner circle" carefully over a period of time. Thankfully I have my fab four. Terry, Roland, Rosemary and Steve make up the list. I know that I can tell them anything that troubles me and they are understanding, compassionate and I never feel I am wearing them out. But, conversely they have said the same thing about me. They are never a bother for me and I care for them greatly. Over the last ten years I've determined it's not healthy to tell everybody your life's story. Here's why.
Beth Moore in her wonderful book on "Get Out Of That Pit" says frankly you can wear some of your friends down. Plus, some friends may not be able to handle the situation your going through. They may care, but if your problem is severe, they many get worn out and not know how to help you. (That happened to me due to some physical problems I've endured.) That's where your "inner circle" comes in. I'm not advocating stuffing everything inside and not opening up to anyone. However, you must choose your closest friends carefully. Take time to do it. Others may be well intentioned but won't know how to really help in the long run. There are some who would love nothing more than for you to throw your life's story on a plate as an appetizer for them to feed upon.
With that being said, however, there are times when a life has to become an "open book." In the case of Michael English that had to be done. Michael's downfall affected the Christian community at large and an open repentance needed to be done. But, not everyone is on a national scale of a Dove Award winner. (But, who needs Dove Awards anyway? It bothers me that we give people awards for what they are supposed to be doing anyway.) I think Michael English has come full circle. I believe that he is restored, forgiven and back on a sane road. When I saw him last, I could sense that he was doing the best he could to walk again with the father. It took a lot of courage for English to face his sins head-on, come clean and be restored. Plus along with myself, I'm glad there were those that wanted him back in the fold, whole and restored. As believers we should always administer love and grace and allow that restored believer back into the loving care of others. I have a lot of love and respect for Michael and applaud him for his honesty and candor.
So, if you are "in the pit" today please don't think I'm saying shun the Christian family. All I'm saying is that most people are too busy with their own lives to give you the attention you need. That's the bad news. The good news is that there are wonderful ministries, counselors and pastors that can help you through until you aquire an inner circle with a few friends along the way. However, my caveat is clear. Trust is earned. It takes time to grow. When developing that inner circle ask some salient questions. This goes for "you" as well as the person you are going to trust with your heart. One, will this person keep everything confidential? Two, will that person along with myself be readily available if I have a serious need? Three, will that person continually pray for you and not walk away when the going gets tough? Those are just three. I could name many more.
It would be nice if the whole Christian community truly took an interest, but that will never, ever happen. Even Paul and Barnabas had their disagreements, so did Paul and Peter. No, Paul wasn't a rebel rouser, but he said, "If at all possible, be at peace with all men." Sure, we'll all need an inner circle when our lives fall apart. Plus, that same inner circle can be there for our times of joy as well. Also, I need to add just a side note. If you are a believer and you have sinned, it must be confessed to God. Also, you need to seek out pastoral care and work at restoration. That is biblical. Sad to say, even in the ministry, you must be very careful who you allow to help you in the restoration process. Pick someone that meets the qualifications of a pastor as outlined in Timothy or a respected counselor that has earned their trust with others.
The bottom line for me is simple. I don't want this post to be misunderstood. I'm NOT saying to stuff all your problems and not trust those around you. It is just better to be careful who you share your heart with. Some will nurture it and love you to the end of time, others would love nothing more than to toss it to the ground and stomp on it. Sad, but true. Sheila's words were tough to write I'm sure. I do know that we should all love, pray and honor one another. The old song says, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Yes, we can love. That is something the Lord would want us to do. Be well all.