Craig Gross, pastor and founder of XXXChurch, will release ‘Open,’ a book about accountability, on July 30. The book encourages honest communication in the paradoxical age when America and the social media world boasts to be the most connected and prefer to portray a picture-picture social media site, but also the most fragmented and disconnected culture in history.
Both Christians and non-believers often lack open and honest relationships with trusted friends. While it may seem more desirable to keep one’s pride and a sense of self-reliance, Gross argues that doing life on our own can lead to devastating results. “We are suckers for bad ideas,” says his website. “Why do we promise ourselves to do better only to slide back into our old habits? Why can’t we help ourselves?”
XXXChurch questions hit home for many who have searched their hearts and found themselves wanting – we need help. For the non-Christian, this begins with abandoning efforts to “earn” one’s status before a holy God; not by trying to clean one’s self up and become more morally acceptable to God. Once we realize that we have sinned against Him and that we cannot fix that on our own, we are able to welcome Jesus Christ as our Savior – the One Who died on the cross to pay for our all of our sins and to bring us back into relationship with God. Once we are born again as new creations in Christ, we are given the Holy Spirit Who guides us, teaches us, comforts us, and helps to remove sin in our lives.
While the power of the Holy Spirit is more than able to help us overcome sin, God has purposed that believers live life in community with one another – to sharpen and to build one another up (see Proverbs 27:17, 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, and 1 Thessalonians 5:11). God often displays His kindness, love, and care to us through other believers, and only when we are walking in deep community with one another can we truly experience this. We will miss out on tangible evidences of grace and of genuine love if we hide our struggles from one another. This requires vulnerability and trust within a group of believers.
Gross notes that genuine relationships can also be used to help one another pursue goals, as well as act as a tool to help those struggling overcome sin. He desires readers to “experience the freedom, peace of mind, and overwhelming self-confidence that come from living a life free of secrets and lies.” His website offers a quiz to help determine how ‘open’ we are to others.
1. Do all of your friends know the “real” you?
2. Is Facebook and Twitter where you share most of yourself with others?
3. Would you consider yourself a private person?
4. Are you a good listener?
5. When you’re listening, do you pretty much always have something to say?
6. Do you have any “stuff” you don’t feel comfortable talking to anyone about?
7. Are there any areas of your life you feel could use improvement?
8. Come on, be honest…can you improve on anything?
9. Got any songs on your iPod you don’t want anyone to hear?
10. Did you lie on any of your answers on this quiz?