Have you ever been in a room with a group of people? And then it happens…
Someone asks a question of the group that changes the atmosphere of the room. As the words are spoken, a quiet flows into the room. A shift occurs. As if in a trapped elevator, people know they aren’t getting out of this. This question will be answered, and it will be answered honestly. It will force some people to open up, become vulnerable. It will force others to shut up, close down.
It’s not a hard question to answer. It’s just a hard question to answer to others.
And that’s the point.
According to Wikipedia,
“Surface tension is a contractive tendency of the surface of a liquid that allows it to resist an external force.”
This is what many of us do everyday in our conversations and many of our relationships. We live them through an invisible surface tension. We’re polite. We give safe answers. We hold back to not offend. And there are seasons for this. But when it becomes our default state, we are not vulnerable. We are not real. We are not honest with others. And eventually, we’re not even honest with ourselves.
So back to the question.
“What’s a temptation that you might struggle with in your life?”
This was the question asked of a room of (mostly single) men and women in their late 20’s.
Safe answers were tossed out. Not invalid answers, but safe.
“Music I listen to”
These were real answers from people, and definitely matter in the life of someone trying to follow Christ. But they had a veil of safety around them.
Then someone in this room of (mostly single) men and women in their late 20’s gave an answer that popped this balloon we were merely squeezing air out of.
“Sex. I’m sure we all struggle with sex.”
Jaws opened. Eyes looked up. I think the dog even stopped whining for a moment. This group had just dived into deeper waters.
It was evident that this person just said the one thing we were all thinking but none of us wanted to say. It was a bold move, but a move that opened up the floor. And changed the group. It was the question and answer that broke the surface tension of a group of people that is always there until someone forces it apart.
Stories were shared. Struggles were shared. Perspectives were given. Men and women began to understand each other a little bit more, and we all began to grasp the idea that we’re not alone in it. And THAT is Satan’s biggest fear: community.
Satan would rather we stay quiet about certain subjects. Not talk about them. Especially in our Christian circles- Say hi. Smile. Share a fun story about your week. Throw in a shallow prayer request. Go home. Repeat next week. Satan is mostly okay with this.
Satan HATES it when people get honest and real with other. Because we quickly find out we have similar struggles, and with community we stand a much better chance of overcoming sin and temptation than we do alone.
Life is full of surface tension. As Christians, we are called to lovingly break the surface tension in our relationships. It’s surprisingly easy to break, but incredibly hard to take the action the break. It can be hard to start the tough conversations. Hard to take a definitive stance. But once you break through the surface tension, it’s incredibly hard for it to return.