Text Box: Gospel Light - Woman to Woman - Oct 2000
Can We Talk?
Written By Judy E. Denby
In last month’s column, I mentioned a non-Christian friend who was bitter about the hypocritical Christians she had met. While I hate to admit it, she does have a point, and that was brought home to me when I took a moment to consider my experiences over the past few months. It was a difficult summer. The only real bright spot was visiting my family for my baby sister’s wedding. Otherwise, there was a great deal of stress and it often seemed as though when I thought we had finally overcome one problem, a worse one immediately followed. God has been good and has gotten us through, but not without a significant degree of pain, and I would have to say that most of my support came from unsaved friends. My co-workers and other non-Christian friends were empathetic and concerned, and I leaned on them for help, especially when I needed to talk. 
The question, of course, is where were my Christian friends? One was there, but otherwise my answer isn’t pretty. The fact was, I felt more comfortable discussing certain problems with non-Christians. I felt that they would understand, and more importantly, I knew that they wouldn’t judge me. Maybe I just have an inferiority complex, but I know many Christians who seem too perfect. If they ever have doubts or struggle with sin, I never know about it. They are just such good, godly persons that I feel like the scum of the earth if I admit to certain problems. And it’s not like I am out routinely committing some heinous crime or breaking the commandments regularly and without remorse. 
It isn’t even entirely the fact that they don’t seem to have issues like mine. Some Christian friends just seem so sheltered, and have led such quiet Christian lives that I feel like I would shock them if I discussed certain things. It’s almost like they have never lived in the real world. Of course we are not to be of the world (John 15:19) - but we at least need to be aware of what is happening in it.
I am well aware that I appear overly critical of Christians, and that is not my intent. My point this month is that those of us who are in Christ must become aware of how we interact with others, Christians and non-Christians alike. If our brothers and sisters in Christ do not feel comfortable about coming to us with their problems, where does that leave us with non-believers? There can be an unfortunately thin line between pleasing God and presenting ourselves to others as “holier-than-thou” Christians. A few years ago, I recall confessing to a friend that I struggled sometimes with singleness. While it was God’s will for me to remain single until I was 33, I wasn’t always accepting of the idea. One day when I was feeling especially troubled, I thought it might help to talk it over with another single Christian woman as I knew she desperately longed for a husband and children. “When I feel like you do,” she told me,” I get on my knees and pray until it goes away.” Instead of support and understanding, I felt as though I was being chastised, and she might as well have added that other statement that I hate: “If your faith was strong enough, you wouldn’t have this problem.”
We need to be conscious as well of how our body language communicates our feelings, well above and beyond what our words say. Tone, facial expression and posture all say much more than we often realize, and while our words may be appropriate, body language can destroy our best intentions. If I look like a Pharisee, I am not going to be inviting to the Publicans (see Luke 18:9-14), and I may miss a great opportunity to minister to someone in need.
These have been tough months, and I have been taught some good lessons. I am very thankful for a faithful God and the way He has provided me with a husband who isn’t perfect either. It truly makes a difference to know that while Peter truly loves God, he isn’t perfect either, and he has struggles of his own that give me the chance to support him, and make him more understanding of my problems. My prayer is that in your time of need, you will have someone too, and that we will all try to be just a little more human when we are needed by someone else.