I’ve worked with quite a few groups of men who have been given the chance to get real about where they are. They decide that the stuff that’s been holding them back isn’t worth hiding any longer. One of them is brave enough to go first and he reveals some form of depravity in his life. He confesses before others and there is freedom from the release of that darkness into the open and light of transparency.
There is an interesting thing that often happens in the group dynamic after that. They rest of the group finds is safe to go there. “There” is exactly where the previous guy went. If the first guy said he struggles with pornography and he isn’t rejected in that admission, then pornography no longer holds a threat of judgment or rejection. It’s amazing how many other men in a particular group are willing to talk about something that someone else has already talked about.
Seldom, however, are our stories that similar. It is rare that everyone has a single, similar stronghold. More often than not, there is different stuff in our lives than there is in the lives of those sitting to our left and our right. Courage comes in going to the places that are unique to us and hold the threat of rejection or judgment.
Freedom comes in the act of redemption. Jesus died for every single thing that dwells in our souls which contradicts His Spirit within us. He died for it all and we don’t have to carry it or be a slave to it any longer. We can trade it in for His glory, but the exchange requires possession. You can’t turn in something that you don’t first grab ahold of. In other words, if you can’t admit it, you can’t change it.
Freedom didn’t happen once at a meeting. Freedom unfolds layer by layer as we work out His salvation through our human condition. We are in a process of progressive redemption that requires dying to ourselves (taking up our cross daily) to allow Him to live through us. We didn’t accomplish the fullness of our capacity because we said a prayer or went to a conference. As things are revealed, and they often take time and pressure to become obvious, we get to go deeper into the crevices of a soul that stores the remnant of our fallen state. When we step into the particular areas of our lives in need of personal transformation, Jesus is faithful in the little as well as the big.