I listened to a sermon a couple of years ago that encouraged us as believers to ask one or two people in our trusted circle the question, “What’s it like to BE, on the other side of ME?”
It is a great question, isn’t it? During the sermon, the guest speaker mentioned that we were likely to hear some great things about ourselves from the person we asked and a couple of things that would likely sting. Additionally, the speaker emphasized how important it was to get the feedback from someone you trust. Critical feedback, regardless of how constructive, isn’t easy to hear.
It takes COURAGE to ask this question. Real courage. Because once you get past the person paying you a couple of compliments, you are likely to be confronted by some things as a person and a follower of Jesus Christ, that YOU NEED to work on.
The question is not intended to beat anyone up, but as we are on our journey of being transformed into the image of Christ, it does help us to identify blind spots and areas where we can pray that the transformation we are looking for, actually happens. Sometimes the only way to know is to ask.
Then we can pray for the strength to grow and respond differently in the areas that we struggle. We can follow up and ask God––how am I doing? Am I becoming more pleasing to you? What other things do you want to reveal to me, Lord?
When Jesus walked this earth, he did ask some challenging questions at times of his Apostles and other people He encountered.
In John 5:1-7 for example, Jesus asks the 38-year disabled man who had been lying by the pool in hope of being healed, “Do you want to get well?” Sounds like an odd question as you might think, OF COURSE, he wants to be well. Jesus asks this question after seeing the man and learning he’d been in that condition for a long time. Jesus goes on to heal him, but the question was a tough one. As a postscript to the story, John 5:14 reveals that the man who was physically healed still needed to heal spiritually. “Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, ‘See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.’” Jesus’ words were to expose an unnamed sin—a sin that could cripple the man's spiritual transformation.
In Matthew 8:26, as the storm and waves sweep over the boat, he asks the Apostles, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Although this was followed by Jesus calming the storm, the question must have been necessary for the Apostles to wrestle with. Where was their faith and what had them so scared––a good question that would cause pause and reflection by anyone.
So my point is this, we have examples of Jesus being okay with asking some tough questions.
Hard questions in life help us grow. Hard questions help us reflect. Hard questions help us focus and rely on Jesus.
In full transparency, just as the guest speaker had mentioned, I learned a few good things and then I learned one thing that I knew God was calling me to deal with and change. I discovered I was more judgemental than I ever thought I was. The person giving me the feedback was gentle with me and I was prepared to hear it. I had readied myself for it. But, it still hurt. I did not want to be that way, and I knew I needed to let the Holy Spirit work with me to change it.
I encourage you, be courageous. Ask a good friend, a trusted co-worker, your spouse or one of your children “What’s it like to be, on the other side of me?” And then listen. Listen to them and listen to what The Holy Spirit might be calling you to see.
"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." -2 Corinthians 3:18
Lynn Utley is a Mom to Kamryn, Step-Mom to Logan and wife to Marvin Utley. She seeks to know Jesus Christ more and more each day and to truly trust Him so that she can live into His promises. She is an avid Crossfitter and a 24-year employee of Johnson and Johnson. She loves to read, write and relax in her spare time!