I am reminded of the rebuke that the writer of Hebrews gives: you are slow to understand. Not yet ready to be a teacher because you're still on baby food, still drinking milk when you should be on solids. Hebrews 5.11-14. In many ways, I am still an infant: too easily thrown off course, too quickly discouraged, suddenly doubting. Content to keep repeating the first lessons over and over again because I can't seem to move up a grade. And the remedy? Tough love. And lots of it. You don't grow in faith without correction and the wise know that they need it and lap it up. Proverbs 9.8. Let a righteous man strike me - that is kindness. Let him rebuke me - that is oil on my head. My head will not refuse it. Psalm 141.5. Oh but I do. I am a refuser. I don't like being corrected. I don't like having my faults addressed. And yet, I crave maturity. I crave christlikeness. Paul says that speaking the truth in love is what gets you there. Not glib condolences and try harder next time but truth. And sometimes truth hurts. Who have you given permission to speak truth to you? Who is the brother, the sister, whose rebuke you welcome? Who is allowed to tell you when you've stuffed up and need to sort it out? Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27.6. Truth-filled wounds are sometimes the only way that we can be set free. John 8.32. Isaiah 53.5.
Wednesday, 24 September 2014
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.