One-Anothering Well: Put Some Clothes On
Have you ever found yourself pointing out the errors, defects, failings, or sins of another at church, even making demands upon them and yet failing to see or be honest about your own? Beam in eye meet mirror!
What do you do when you look into the mirror and see the nakedness of your pride and harm you’ve done to others? Well, besides having a mess to clean up, first put some clothes on! Start with humility.
You’ll see the beauty of God’s redeeming grace when you put on the garment of humility. Relational health in the church – living in unity, fervent in charity, and growing in maturity – requires grace. But grace is given not earned, and pride (yours and mine) gets in the way.
Which should you choose to enjoy healthy relationships at church, especially when the pressure is on: Imposition or submission, power or patience? Peter gives us the answer (From 1 Peter 5:1-12):
The believers to whom Peter writes are scattered, suffering, and struggling. God it’s hard down here! was their cry. God’s reply: Trust me, submit to each other, wait on the Lord.
Some thoughts for when stubbornness looks better than submission, and imposition seems easier than patience in our relationships at church:
· (5-7) Mutual subjection is that modest and moderate disposition toward others that, having compared oneself to Christ and His love toward us sinners, lives out of a true estimation of who we really are.
· (8-10) When Satan seeks to destroy churches, he leverages the proud. When we seek healthy relationships we leverage mutual subjection – subordinating ourselves to others with dignity and respect.
· v. 5, 6, 10, 12. If you knew that the path to true grace would be patient suffering, would you pray for grace? If you knew that pride would destroy relational health, would you continue down its path?
· Relational health is not lording, imposing, winning! It is loving one another in recognition we are all the beneficiaries of the God of all grace: Equal in value, deserving of nothing, grateful to Jesus, diverse in roles and responsibilities, desperate for grace. Grace is very humbling, isn’t it?
· If the path to relational health and happiness is demanding, imposing, winning! then the Lord made a fool of Himself at Calvary. He humbled himself and left the results to Father (Phil. 2:3-11, Lk. 23:46).
· I read somewhere, “If I were to pick out two phrases necessary for spiritual growth, I would pick out these: ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I am sorry.’ And both phrases are the evidence of deep humility.”
· Relationally, we don’t win by roaring - we get no grace when we make demands and impose our will. We get pain, we get resistance, eventually we get devoured. It is when we, like Jesus, adorn ourselves in humility that healing begins and grace abounds. Without humility God resists us and Satan has fun.
· If there are not hurts, hardships, and honest failings or humiliations among us, there can be no real opportunity for humility to grow us relationally healthy or to be our witness to the world around us.
· I love you by not lording over you - making demands, threats, accusations. We all have many faults. Let not pride be one of them. Solomon said, One sinner destroyeth much good. It doesn’t take a lot of pride to destroy relational health. It just takes one who gives place to it (Pro. 13:10, 18:17).
· Think of one who always has to be heard, plead their case, share what they claim to know, has to be right and win at all cost in a conflict. Are their relationships healthy? Are they at peace? Are they pleasant to be around and easy to entreat? To what does their spirit give testimony?
· When we make arrogant demands of others because pride blinds us to a true estimation of ourselves, we risk doing real and lasting damage while failing to see the irony of our own actions or attitudes.
(Heb. 4:12-13) If we are to enjoy relational harmony – one-anothering well in compelling community – humility is a good start. I look in the mirror, allow God to expose the real me, and --- put some clothes on! We’ll see the beauty ofredeeming grace when we all ask God to give us a true estimation of ourselves.