May 20, 2018 - Inscriptions From The Heart
May 20, 2018
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
If you have Facebook (which I'm guessing the majority of us do), you may notice that you get daily notifications about “memories” that you share with certain people. When you click it, you get taken to a page that shows you the messages, statuses, pictures, etc. that you posted on that specific day in previous years. It's a nostalgic, often hilarious trip down memory lane, especially for us who started using Facebook in our teenage years when we had less of a filter on what we shared on social media. Sometimes though, less savory moments in our lives are brought back to the surface – moments that we probably wish we had never posted on the internet for the world to see. In my case, there was one time in 2010 (eight years ago already, can you believe it?) when I was apparently mad enough to post some profanity as my FB status. I don't even remember now what it was I was mad about but Facebook remembers that I posted it! At that time I was already very involved in the youth ministry as a leader and so you know just how grossly inappropriate that was for me to post in public. But being a young rebellious 18-year old, I didn't care much who read it. I just wanted my FB friends to know how very angry I was! While some of my friends replied on my status offering me some comfort, I will never forget the reply that was posted by our former youth pastor. He said, “Ephesians 5:3-4…Your words and problems do not invalidate God's Word and command. See you this weekend.” I remember reading that message and being offended that he would openly rebuke me when I was obviously not having a good day. After my initial anger subsided, though, I realized that my youth pastor was only speaking the truth, and therefore speaking life into me.
As I grew older (and a little bit wiser), I came to appreciate my youth pastor’s blunt discipline as well as the rebukes from my other spiritual family members when they saw me making choices that displeased God. Their words may have rankled at first but I was confident that they reprimanded me not to bring me down but rather to build my character and, more importantly, to uphold the holiness of God. As Christians, I encourage us all to find those types of friends who will “speak the truth in love” and to be that kind of friend to others as well. This may sound different depending on the kind of relationship the two of you share (some people appreciate straightforwardness while others respond better to gentle words). Just remember to ask yourself a few questions before admonishing another: Why am I saying this? What am I trying to accomplish? How should I say what needs to be said in a way that will please God and also preserve our relationship? And the same kinds of reflections apply when we are on the receiving end of rebuke from a fellow believer: Why are they saying this? What/how do I need to change? How should I respond in a way that will please God and also preserve our relationship?
As we receive life-giving words and, in turn, offer them to our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will “grow in every way more and more like Jesus.” Let's strive for this and become a people whom God uses mightily for the expansion of His Kingdom and glory of His Name!