This week’s post for Unveiled Intimacy is from LaRae Humes. She brings some straight forward truth that sometimes makes us uncomfortable. I am thankful for her honest and challenging words today.
Hard talks are healthy talks, if gone about correctly. I loathe confrontation—my heart is palpitating just thinking about it. I think it’s because confrontation doesn’t bode well for a middle school girl when she knows her friends are doing something wrong and has to speak up. But more than that, true intellectual intimacy is expressed in loving someone enough to care for his or her soul.
That is agape love.
According to Dr. Chris Thurman, agape love is defined as ‘an active will aimed at fostering a person’s growth and maturity.’ Intellectual intimacy paves the way for this type of love. What better way to show someone you love him or her, than to delve deep into a conversational vulnerability?
Working in youth ministry and meeting in my own accountability group for the past several years, my eyes have been opened to how to handle intellectual intimacy in a positive and loving way. There’s a foundation that needs to be laid for intellectual intimacy to take place. My most difficult conversations have often come through those meetings; however, they have ultimately been the most fulfilling!
My heart immediately jumps to 2 Samuel 12, in which we are presented with the story of David acknowledging his sin and repentance. This is a beautiful example of intellectual intimacy between David and Nathan. It also exhibits Nathan being an obedient mouthpiece for God and Him knowing how to approach David.
Nathan is used by God to speak truth into David’s heart, not by blatantly telling David that he has sinned. Nathan’s parable is told to convict David and help David apply it to his own life. Nathan is a vessel. When the Spirit of the Lord moves, David’s sin is made known. We, too, are vessels for the Lord.
In my experience, I have learned that difficult conversations need to be approached in love, with open hands, minds, and hearts. You are merely extending grace and being a mouthpiece for Jesus. It is important for me to remember that we are ‘iron sharpening iron’ in all things—intellectual intimacy included!
There is no doubt that the first time I ever approached anyone over a difficult topic, I was nervous and anxious about what to say or how to say it—inevitably, the Holy Spirit took over and gave me a peace—the words spoken were not my own.
I wanted my overall conversation to convey that I was a part of their tribe, fighting in their corner, and wanting what was best for them. My boxing gloves were off, my intentions were made clear, and I fumbled over the words a little; but I think that just showed that I cared.
We so often don’t want to speak up because we succumb to tolerance; I, too, am guilty of this. We are afraid to step on toes and speak out when we know it is necessary, but according 2 Timothy 1:7, God did not give us a spirit of timidity. He gave us a spirit of power, loved, and self-discipline.
We have been given community in life to grow and mature in Christ—we need people to keep us on the hook for our actions and responses. That is our end goal with agape love.
Intellectual Intimacy is a Discipline
Intellectual intimacy, though it can be intimidating, is ultimately necessary to life. We cannot scathe by without ever being intellectually intimate with someone—otherwise our conversations will remain shallow and eventually lack fruit. Hebrews 12:11 says, ‘No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.’
Hard talks prune a soul through the Spirit.
May you be encouraged to be a mouthpiece, open and available—willing to bring good news to those you love. After all, the message of the Gospel is good news. May we hold on to that Truth as we delve into intellectual intimacy with others, not shying away from the things that need to be said.
LaRae is a lover of Jesus, family, and being outdoors. She loves to run, cook and bake, and read. She is so very blessed! Join her in this journey of loving God, others, being a first time momma, and more as she blogs at http://laraehumes.blogspot.