Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Love: Defining Terms

“I wanted to talk to you about your participation in bible study…”

I sit up a little straighter, being your typical church rat my participation in bible study was usually marked by deep insights, knowing just how to say difficult Old Testament names, and knowing some obscure verse to support my point, she was probably about to thank me for my contributions, maybe even ask me to help lead.

“You have a lot of good insights…”

Mentally brushes off shoulders…pride stroked…

“…but you need to give the other girls opportunity to answer too…”

Being your typical people pleaser, my stomach churned.  My efforts to be helpful (and let’s face it, to be seen as wise and smart and “Christian-cool”) backfired; I was the know-it-all the leader had to talk to about speaking up far too much.  For about a nanosecond I wilted, wishing I could hide but finding no where to go trapped in the tiny, gray car.  I glared at my feet, wondering what the odds of time travel would be in the near future; maybe I could go back…

“I have the same problem, sometimes it’s hard not to speak up when I have something to say…”

The wilting stops and time travel doesn’t seem like such an enticing invention.  I’m not alone in my struggle, in my failure, she’s not confronting me to humiliate or shame me, she’s doing so out of love, out of leadership, she’s struggled too…In fact, were she not to confront me this would be a failure to love, a failure in leadership.

“I can help you…maybe even throw a shoe across the circle if that would help…”

We laugh and head on towards the church, me aware of something I need to work on, my youth leader ready and willing to help me grow to maturity.  Though I don’t remember the words of this conversation exactly, I remember the important points, and the lesson has stuck with me to this day.  Sometimes speaking the truth can be difficult, frowned upon, but if we do not speak the truth to those around us, we are nothing more than flattering tongues. 

“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.”  Ephesians4:15

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