I don’t mean to sound rude, but what’s your problem? Usually those are words to start an argument, but I hope they are words to start a healing process. Maybe you have multiple problems.
Christians aren’t immune to life’s difficulties and the bible says it’s not a matter about if we will face them, but when.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,” – James 1:2
So, what are your problems?
Maybe not talking about the problems you have is the problem. For those who would attempt to deal with their problems by themselves, a true experience of community eludes them.
Certainly excuses can be made to not talk about problems you face. Who wants to burden someone else? Who wants to dampen the atmosphere? Who wants to be the one to be real?
I’m a veteran in making those excuses and I’m guessing for many who are finding their relationships stuck in the mud and void of growth, you might find yourself making similar excuses too.
Whatever the excuse, community is biblical and authenticity in relationships is required.
Matthew 22:37-39 says, “And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
How do I love my neighbor as myself if I don’t know my neighbor?
For those who have had a hard time opening up, you might find it easier to begin by opening up to a spouse, a friend, a family member or even a pastor in a one-on-one setting. Sometimes opening up to a counselor is the first step to opening up to others.
But, the small group should always serve as a place for Christians to navigate life together, and talking with your group members about what is going on in your life and asking for prayer and guidance has the potential to help you and others in the group.
We see a great example of what a healthy church (and a healthy small group) looks like in Acts 2:42-47.
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
This could not happen without the members of the group engaging with each other on a healthy, deep and intimate level and this example serves as our motivation to do the same.
But how do you begin to share problems you face if you aren’t used to doing it? Let me tell you a few tips that have helped guide me as I made the switch from being tight-lipped to equipped to share my problems with others in a small group.
- Tell what the problem is – from your vantage point, is the problem a person (including you), place or thing? What is it doing to you?
- Ask for what the Bible says about the problem – you will not face a situation where the root of the issue has not been addressed in the Bible.
- Ask for prayer – this is where a group really connects. Bringing requests to God seeking the resolution and peace only He can bring reminds a group about the power God has to change circumstances, attitudes and actions.
These are a few ways to begin sharing. It may not feel comfortable overnight, but it is a way to allow other believers to aim scripture and prayer at the problems you face.
A small group of believers equipped with scripture and prayer to cover each other sounds like a community any person saved by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can appreciate.
Does anyone have a problem with that?