Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. James 5:16
Living lights on and windows open is a great phrase. It’s new to me and I love it. What it means is that in the context of relationship, we don’t hide who we really are or what we are dealing with. We say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done in order to help each other move forward in life and in our faith.
The idea of lights on, windows open is a theme woven throughout the Bible. Here is what we see: There are times that we “confess our sins to God and we receive His forgiveness” 1 John 1:9. There are also times when we “confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” James 5:16. Romans 8:1-2 tells us that there is “No condemnation and no shame for those who are in Christ, because through the law of the Spirit, we are given life and are set free from the law of sin and death.” Lastly, Matthew 18:15-17 says, “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.”
In order for lights on to work, it must be reciprocal. Two people or groups agree to do something similar for each other and allow each other to have the same rights. You cannot expect people to be honest and open with you if you are not honest and open with them.
Lights on, windows open must exist in a context of trust. If there is no trust, the system breaks down and honesty evaporates. We can’t have successful trust if I think the only reason the lights are on is so you can see where I am to push me out the open window!
Maintaining trust can often mean nothing more than choosing to believe two things:
1. Hold to the belief that the other party has only the best of intentions for you and others when they share “hard things,” and 2. The other party can be relied upon, even if we disagree on an issue.
Finally, lights on, windows open requires mature people be mature about life. Saying hard things actually turns out to be hard, but having a slightly uncomfortable conversation up front is better than a very uncomfortable conversation down the road. Reasonable people can disagree about a multitude of issues. There are, however, some issues that are non-negotiable, both institutionally and personally. Although non-negotiable, those issues should be treated with thoughtfulness, respect, and patience.
Turning on some lights around you will help you see your way better through the journey of life. If you would like to improve your view, I encourage you to consider asking someone you trust to have a reciprocal lights on, windows open relationship. I’m convinced you will become a better relater because of it.
Edited and condensed with permission from Kevin McPeak