I was a freshmen in college and we were having a guest speaker come to speak to our entire dorm on sexuality.
I don’t recall my thoughts going into this meeting, but I do remember a certain moment. The dorm lobby was standing room only and at one point during his talk, the speaker looked at a senior we all respected and he asked, “Do you masturbate?”
If you’re shocked to read those words, imagine what we were all thinking in the moment. My jaw about hit the ground. This was a Christian University, people! I was always under the impression that we didn’t talk about stuff like that.
The senior handled it with maturity and responded by saying, “Ya, it’s something I struggle with.”
That answer, that vulnerability, that moment of nakedness in front of the entire dorm, opened up a beautiful can of vulnerability and confession.
We went back to our dorm room and a few of us all got together and started confessing sexual sin that we had never told anybody. With a group of five of my friends, we decided to start meeting regularly to share life and struggles on a deeper level. Fast forward a few years and guys with porn addictions were set free, we all “knew” each other in a much deeper way, and I now consider those five guys family and brothers. In fact, we met once a week for ten years and still do an annual trip with our families. The growth that has come out of the group is impossible to measure.
What happened that night after we saw vulnerability modeled for us? We got naked! Not literally, but we stopped hiding and covering like Adam and Eve in the Garden after they ate the fruit.
When you get naked, a few things happen:
The thing you were trying to hide all of a sudden doesn’t have the same power over you.
You realize you’re not alone. Other people struggle, and they struggle like you do.
You give people the opportunity to love you in the midst of your crap.
It is the first step in putting to death the thing that you’re hiding, the thing that has control over you, the thing that has you in bondage.
“Known-ness” will set you free. It’s not our natural default, and for some reason the Church has become a place where we hide and “fake it” a lot. This pattern has made our natural default become “second nature” and we don’t even question our habit of hiding and covering.
I recently met a guy that is going through a divorce. I asked him how his church is doing loving him through this and he said, “The Church does a good job of caring for those going through divorce, but they don’t do a good job of helping to prevent divorce.”
As I’ve talked to my pastor friends about his statement, they all say the same thing, “By the time we find out that a marriage is on the rocks, it’s too late.”
So what’s the problem and who is to blame for the high divorce rate within the Church? Well, I wish I had all the answers, but I think we could all agree on two factors that would help:
Couples could open up and admit that they are struggling and have the courage to seek help.
The Church could work harder to create a safe environment where vulnerability is modeled and welcomed.
I cannot tell you how many times I have experienced the power of vulnerability when I have shared something or when others have shared with me. Almost always people follow-up their confession with a statement like, “Wow, I already feel better just letting you know” or “It already feels like it has less power over me just by telling you.”
Have you experienced the power of “getting naked”, being vulnerable, confession, and going to another level of known-ness? If not, what is holding you back?
I think Chance the Rapper was right in his song when he said, “It’s much harder to sin naked,” because once you expose yourself, you’ve zapped the darkness of it’s power by shining light on it. Light is more powerful than darkness. Not only that, but you now have somebody or a group of people to walk alongside you and carry the burden with you.
Did you know that Jesus and Paul believe that we can actually sin less? Do you believe you can sin less? Sinning less starts with getting naked. I dare you to try it.
(Chance the Rapper recently performed a new song on The Colbert Show and the lyric “It’s much harder to sin naked” was part of his amazing spoken word within the song. Chance is an intriguing artist. I would describe his genre as R&B meets Gospel meets Spoken Word. You can watch that performance here: Chance on Colbert)