Getting help has often ended badly. I hear this story a bunch; In the past, guys have shared their problem and somebody tried to fix them. The fear and shame from admitting the problem was complicated by the good intentions of the fixer. Yet the truth is, the fixer had their own problems. The fixer added a bunch of shame to force a change. The fixer set them up for failure by saying ” try harder, just pray more, just do blah blah blah.” Not only that, the fixer had a vested interest in fixing. As if their own condition, their own identity was wrapped up in the fixing. Lets face it, if shame and will power had been enough you wouldn’t be here. But group is different.
There is no shame in failure. I’m ok if you fail, we all do. The real question is; “Are we going to do life together?” Are you going to show up, do you keep being real, do you want connection? Because I have my own hairy issues I’m fighting. I don’t need you to fix me and I don’t want to fix you. When I share my deep dark doo doo I’m not looking for a solution, pitty or some canned response.. I want connection and truth. This me first approach may sound selfish, but follow me.
This is about being real, with everyone and with God, by practicing to be real with a few, and through this process of being real, digging deep into who I am and what I have done, I am learning to be present and real in this moment. No lies, no excuses, nothing hidden. In the painful process of revealing the truth, I find the joy of freedom because others have loved me unconditionally. Each week I get a chance to push the bounds of their unconditional love for me by sharing more, going deeper, uncovering even more of my hidden junk, only to find these guys love me no mater what. As a matter of fact, the more I share, the more they know me, the real me.. The more they love me even when I fail.
While receiving love in the face of the worst I can share, the very worst of me, I lean how to love others unconditionally. By being loved, I learn how to love a guy who just shared the deepest most damaging secret of his life, and I can say “Thank you for telling me, that sucks, Love you man.” My heart reaches out to this man, I can relate, and love him right here, right now. He doesn’t need my answers he needs me in his life. This big scary thing that has haunted a mans entire life, has just been exposed to the light, and he wasn’t rejected. What kind of love is this? When judgment was expected, acceptance and love was given. This is the love that sets people free. This is what the earth is crying out for.
It’s Christ like, but it’s not something that just jumps on when you are born again. If it did , 70% of the guys in church wouldn’t be masturbating and looking at porn. You don’t get it at the alter call, on the prayer line, or through a podcast. Unconditional love is a skill, don’t be fooled, if you don’t work on it, if you don’t practice it, you will struggle to receive it and to give it and you will struggle to be free. But there is good news. This is why group is the best discipleship program on the planet. If you stay in it, if you go after it, you will experience unconditional love. You will practice it, and you will walk in freedom and set others free. More and more like Jesus, and it feels good.