“The extent to which people in a relationship can bring up and resolve issues is a critical
marker of the soundness of the relationship.” -Dr. Henry Cloud
I’ve been thinking about those conversations that one has from time to time. Not via email, not over the phone lines or through the cell towers, not on silent paper dropped into the mail, but face to face. Certainly those other modes of communication have advantages (the speed of email, the convenience of a phone, and the thoughtfulness and anticipation of a letter), but there is something about a face to face conversation that is both deeply meaningful as well as somewhat unnerving (at times). When we face another to communicate, we seek to have as many boundaries removed as possible. We see the expressions, hear the tone of voice, and read the body language. But, too often we are unbalanced in our approach to one another. Dr. Henry Cloud, in his book Boundaries Face To Face, addresses this imbalance:
Many of us live in two worlds when it comes to relationships. In one world we have friendly conversations in which we avoid all disagreements; in the other we have major conflict-type conversations that tear everybody and everything up. In the first world we have connection without truth, and in the second we have truth without connection. God did not design us to live in these two worlds, having these two types of relationships. He wants us to live in the one world, where He lives and where truth and love coexist as allies, not adversaries. Our connections are best when they are truthful, and our truth is best when we are connected.
If I am not careful, I can approach God the same way. I can try to avoid addressing anything that might be in the way of my relationship with God and function on a purely surface level. God points out my sin, and I try to say, “Well, no one is perfect, and besides, You still love me anyway.” Then I continue to sin. Or I can focus solely upon the facts and become legalistic, distancing myself from God by my own self-righteousness. God expects us to live with Him face to face. I think about Psalm 27:8; “When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You, “Your face LORD, I will seek.” Seeking God’s face in the Old Testament meant that you were seeking the presence of God. And He calls us there, to the place where we sit before Him and worship, communicating with our Creator in truth and love, connected with the One who desires for us to come face to face with Him.
Be honest. How was your worship this week? Did you go before Him clean and close? What kept you from being face to face with God?