A recent conversation this week has been bouncing around in my head. It has been a heavy reminder of my responsibilities to God mainly, but also to those around me. Let me back up a bit and give you some context to the conversation.
BUILDING A RELATIONSHIP
We were chatting over our respective drinks: a coffee and a chai latte. This was not a light superficial chat. This is a regular meeting time for us.
We have known each other for I-don’t-know-how-many-years, maybe ten. But this year we started meeting together regularly once a week. There is no structure.
It has evolved into something that is definitely a friendship, very mutual (despite her frequent requests for my wisdom) and is full of exhortation in the good sense of that word. My understanding of exhortation is speaking God’s Word into the life of another in the context of a relationship. Generally, that is very encouraging!
The words are not always syrupy sweet, but they are truth (wrapped in love, kindness and respect). It isn’t the “you’re so sweet” kind of encouragement but rather “I’ve seen such growth in you in this specific area as your family has been going through this suffering.” The only way we position ourselves for that kind of encouragement is to make ourselves vulnerable to another. The risk? We can be hurt by them.
SPEAKING TRUTH INTO ANOTHER PERSON’S LIFE: AN AWESOME RESPONSIBILITY!
This week she organized a group of questions for me because she “needed my wisdom”. When people ask for that from me, I am always uncomfortable…ALWAYS. But then she made this comment: “When you speak, it is like Jesus Christ speaking to me.”
I don’t know about you, but that scares the gizzard out of me. I want to jump up and run out of the room. Especially when I know my own heart and soul. I know my frailties and failures in ways that NO ONE does…not.even.Ron…and he knows more than most.
Fortunately, I have a HUGE, gigantic GOD. He is way bigger than my advice...and its frailty. As His daughter and a mature Christian, I do Him no service to pretend to be “humble” and not share with someone who asks what I have learned in a certain area of life.
Why should I keep it quiet? It is like knowing the solution to a given problem…or part of it…and not telling it to a person in need. Having a person ask is a very good sign. It shows that you are not overpowering them with unwanted advice at least I hope that is what it says.
Her comment has haunted me this week. One of my first responses is to DO better. I need to FIX myself up. I’m not good enough to be “Christ” to a fellow believer. Now there’s a newsflash!
It is a common pitfall but do you see the heretical-ity of it? I know I made up the word, but I think you get it, don’t you? We SAY that our salvation is through Christ alone. Another way we say it is by GRACE alone through faith in CHRIST alone. You can’t go wrong by referencing Ephesians 2:8-10. But, we can’t fix ourselves up and make ourselves better. We must trust God’s work in our lives both to change us and to minister to others.
LIVING THE CHRISTIAN LIFE IS ALL OF GRACE!
So I’m back to where I started. I decided not to go the “humble” route because it isn’t humble, it is fearful and doesn’t want to trust God… and told her what I thought about her question…based on a LOT of background information I already knew, Biblical principles repeated throughout God’s Word and life experience. With the heaviest weight being on God’s Word! Believe me when I tell you that it was not profound! The kind of advice I give just isn’t. It is very ordinary. That’s why a lot of people find it very easy to ignore.
It is encouraging to think that God could use me in another person’s life in a way that they thought Jesus was talking to them. That is totally GRACE. But in order for me to enjoy that grace, I have to take risks when I know what God wants me to tell someone. The biggest risk is to live a life that is vulnerable and open to being hurt. It will happen at times and when it does, the Healer of Broken Hearts is ever present.
HOW ARE YOU JESUS TO OTHERS?
ARE THEY AWARE THAT THE LOVE YOU SHOW THEM IS FROM CHRIST AND NOT JUST HUMAN GOODNESS?
edited with minor changes 12/22/2011.