John Buckeridge considers how much more we can achieve if we share our lives with another.
I’m currently enjoying reading ‘The Blair Years’ – Alistair Campbell’s personal diaries which describe the incredibly close relationship that he and Tony Blair had. They spent hours and hours together, working on speeches and developing ideas. Campbell would then represent these views to the press and attempt to manipulate the media to adopt a sympathetic stance on New Labour policy.
What is evident as I am reading this book is just how close Blair and Campbell became. The shared loyalty and teamwork was intense. Love them or hate them, they changed the shape of politics and with others built a platform for continued electoral success which Labour had never enjoyed before. On one occasion Alistair Campbell wrote how, while working early one morning with Tony Blair, he was disconcerted by Tony reading out stories to him from the morning newspapers while stark naked. Tony hid nothing, literally nothing, from Alistair!
John Wesley, the father of Methodism and probably the greatest English preacher there has ever been, could be said to have almost single-handedly been the instrument God used to bring revival to these islands 250 years ago. Except that he wasn’t on his own – he had a brother, Charles, who was a loving friend, wise counsellor and diplomatic advisor. He stood shoulder to shoulder with John throughout his life and in the process wrote thousands of amazing hymns, which John’s converts sang – and through their words much sound doctrine was learned and absorbed. Many of these hymns we still sing today including, ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ which most of us will sing this month.
On his own John Wesley would never have made the impact he did. With a brother to confide in, his ministry prevented England from being plunged into bloody revolution as happened across the channel, and sparked the biggest revival the UK has yet seen. Dave Allen writes of the impact of Charles Wesley in his excellent article on page 42. Great things can be achieved, but usually they are helped by partnerships - close alliances of like-minded friends working together. So who do you hide nothing from? Who is your blood brother or sister? Have you got someone you can confide in – warts and all? That was a question more than 1,000 Christianity readers answered in our recent survey. Three-quarters said ‘yes’, which is very encouraging.
If you don’t have someone to confide in, why is that? Isolation is not splendid, it makes us more vulnerable. Do you shun this intimacy for fear of rejection or the accountability it will bring? If you do not have a close ally, a friend with whom you can share anything and everything, I consider your impact for good and God will be restricted. I believe that praying together, confiding in each other, confessing your sins and weaknesses to each other so that you may build one another up in Christ is a route to spiritual growth.