It was a night like any other night at my guys bible study. It started with the normal talking and catching up, waiting for the rest of the guys to show up. Followed by prayer requests once every one had arrived. After we had finished praying we shared about what was going on in our lives and how God was growing us. Now I don’t remember what everybody shared that night. However, I do remember one thing from that particular night that has stuck with me.
One of the guys started sharing about what was going on in his life and what God had been teaching him. As he was finishing up he almost broke down in tears as he started sharing about how he was having a hard time watching his brother go through something that he had previously gone through as well. After he was done sharing the first thing to pop into my head was that his younger brother was struggling with pornography.
The reason I thought this, was because when he started sharing he was very specific about what was going on in his life, but as he started sharing about his brother he became very vague and evasive about it and he gave off the vibe that he didn’t want to be questioned further on the subject. After he was done we all nodded and expressed our sympathy for him and his brother. Then next guy started sharing.
Now the story above is a couple years old, and I am sharing to make a point. I think you’ll agree with me when I say that there was an elephant in the room that night. In this case it was at least one possibly two brothers struggling with pornography, and nobody called it what it was. This wasn’t the only time I have seen this happen. I saw this rather frequently in my churches youth group. Whenever a group of guys would circle up to discuss our struggles some one would almost always say something along the lines of struggling with lust or pornography but they wouldn’t say it. I am not innocent either. I would skip around the issue and I would avoid ever saying anything about the issue of lust.
But it’s not just guys who I’ve seen doing this, I’ve seen girls do this as well. I’ve also seen it done with other struggles and/or topics besides something as “awkward” as pornography or lust. One of the reasons for this is because I think as Christians we want to have it all together and the truth of the matter is we don’t. So we stick to vague and general when we talk about our struggles. But when we stick to vague and general we are selling ourselves and those around us short. We end up limiting the way people can help and pray for us. Granted there are times and situations when you need to be vague and general when sharing your struggles with a group of people.
Something that I have been learning recently is that when you call something what it is. It loses a sense of mystery and power. For example if you struggle with lust, when you share with someone you respect and who will keep you accountable that you are struggling with lust. Lust loses part of its hold on you because you called it what it was and brought it into the light of truth. Now if you shared with that same person that you were struggling, but you kept it vague and general. Lust would still have the same hold on you as before.
Now, In the story I shared above. My friend who was sharing may not have been struggling with pornography, it could have been something else. However, because he was vague the rest of the guys in the group couldn’t help or pray specifically for him. He was selling himself short of the help and support the rest of group could give him.
So my challenge to you dear reader is to start calling things what they are. It’s time for that elephant in your life to be called a elephant.