It’s hard for men to be open with one another.
It’s difficult to talk about what’s inside, what we’re going through, our fears and failures, the bad things that happen ‒ without hiding something. But it is vital to our Christian life. And the only way to overcome the tendency to hide is through close, trusting, invested friendships.
1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (ESV). I’m no theologian, but one thing I see here is that when we bring our issues, our struggles, our pressures into the light and talk about them with one another, it draws us together because we realize that we are not alone. We begin to see that others have similar problems, and that releases us from the clinging darkness and isolation of sin. And somehow this also cleanses us ‒ it brings resolution, relief, and even… rest.
As my daughter put it once, a lack of transparency—not saying what needs to be said and not telling the truth—leads to things that drag on and on without ever getting addressed. Problems don’t get fixed, and sin doesn’t get healed. Without close friendships, we develop warped perspectives on life. When we are alone, we often cannot see clearly what we are doing wrong. We can deceive ourselves very easily.
The Bible warns us about this very thing. In Proverbs 18:1, the Lord tells us, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” Men, being alone can lead you to do evil. Evil starts when we decide to stay in the private, isolated little world that we work so hard to create. I need more than two eyes; I need four, six, and eight. I need someone who will say to me, “Can’t you see what you are doing?!”
Why is it so hard for men to share our weaknesses or hidden struggles with a trusted Christian brother? Unfortunately, it’s our nature. When it comes to building friendships with other men, most of us just want to tough it out ourselves. We think, “I can do it, and I can do it alone.” We don’t want to need anyone.The tendency of men toward fierce independence is not of God. Click To Tweet
Where do you find that in the Bible? The answer is straightforward: you don’t. The tendency of men toward fierce independence is not of God. What you do find in the Bible are passages such as these:
- “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart…But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “today”, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:12-13, NASB)
- “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together…” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NASB)
- “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another…” (James 5:16, NASB)
- “Though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him. A threefold cord is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:12, ESV)
Without men in our lives who love and care for us and show us the light, we are destined for destruction. Without regular contact with our brothers in the battle, we are on a solo mission that is quickly defeated by weariness and the pain of the wounds inflicted by the enemy.
But connected men—men standing side by side in the faith of the gospel—can achieve victory…and rest.