Before I go on, I want to clarify one thing: what I'm about to say is not an indictment on anyone that we know, past or present. If anything it's a reflection of things I've been known to do in the past that I have now come to realize may be more harmful than helpful.
There have been times when I have spoken honestly about where I am in my faith. Being this frank about my relationship with God generally puts people on edge, not knowing whether to address what I said or forget that I said it. If they do respond, I usually get one of two responses:
- "That sucks. I'm sorry you're going through that." Then, nothing more is said or done, helpful or otherwise.
- "(Insert Sunday School answer here)." Then, after the Sunday School answer is given, nothing more is said or done, helpful or otherwise.
Thinking about this has made me acutely aware of all the times in the past when I have encountered someone struggling with their faith or with a difficult situation and given the "easy" answers. It reminds me of all the times I could have really done something to help someone out, but instead focused on giving them the most perfectly correct and appropriate biblical answer. What a waste of an opportunity to show God's love in a personal and practical way.