You need to be meeting at least once per week with a group of three to five men as you undertake this process of building for freedom. These men should be guys with whom you can feel safe sharing your secrets. Anything said in a group meeting is to be kept strictly confidential, so that group is a safe place to start practicing being honest and real about your struggles. Other safe people with whom you might share include your pastor or an elder in your church, a qualified counselor, or a mature believer whose life and character you respect. You will need a lot of support and help on the journey toward freedom. Even two men can’t move a 750 lb. boulder by themselves.
I do want to make a few comments about safe people before we close for the day. It is important to begin being real with others, but it is also important to have wisdom and discretion as you share. Before you make yourself vulnerable to another person, look for these qualities.
- Accept and love me unconditionally.
- Are comfortable with my humanity. They don’t expect me to be perfect, but they don’t minimize my sin either. They encourage me to be real and discourage all pretense.
- Don’t gossip about me.
- Don’t try to fix my problem or offer solutions. They simply listen, encourage me, and pray.
- Don’t need my love or approval to be okay. They can handle my angry outbursts and stormy emotions because they know who they are in Christ.
- Are aware of their own brokenness. Humility and integrity are the hallmarks of their character.
- Are more concerned about relating to me and loving me than about giving me advice.
- Are sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life. Only believers can be truly safe people.
Because you are very vulnerable right now, it is also very important that you guard yourself from unsafe people.
- Condemn or blame others for my problem.
- Deny or minimize my sin.
- Try to “fix” me by suggesting things I should or should not do.
- Give unwanted advice.
- Cannot keep confidences.
- Only stay in relationship with me when I am happy and hopeful. They are too uncomfortable with or embarrassed by grief and anger to allow me to feel negative emotions.
- Are arrogant and self-righteous.
- Are unable to see the Holy Spirit at work in me. This would apply both to non-believers and immature believers who walk more in the flesh than in the Spirit.
– Troy Haas, Building for Freedom