Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

Admonish One Another

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“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5-6

There is a lot of confusion these days about the function and design and purpose of the church. Let me clarify that when I use the word “church”, I am not referring to a building. We are the church. You and me. The church is the brethren of believers that are scattered here and there, meeting in fellowships nearby and around the world. So when I talk about the church here, I’m talking about God’s people. The Church of the Way, as it was called in early church history.

The Church has many functions, as described by the New Testament books. Yet, it seems we have all but abandoned certain aspects of, what the Word of God said, were important roles and responsibilities towards each other. You see, we are called to love one another, to build relationships, and to allow the Lord to knit us together into a beautiful woven, open and welcoming community. We are called into closeness and family…not Sunday morning smiles and empty greetings. We are called to something deeper and more real. Real church.

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,  bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.  And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:12-17, ESV

We are God’s chosen ones, and therefore we are called into a certain type of relationship with each other. Let’s make a list of some of the aspects of this calling as stated here in this chapter of Colossians:

  1. Compassion
  2. Kindness
  3. Humility
  4. Meekness
  5. Patience
  6. Bearing One Another’s Burdens
  7. Forgiving
  8. Loving
  9. Peaceful
  10. Thankful
  11. Teaching
  12. Admonishing
  13. Praising God Together

This is a great list, and we could do a study about each of these aspects, but today I want to focus on the one word on this list that people seem to really shy away from in the church: admonishment. Throughout the New Testament we see admonishment and yet in the modern church we rarely see it. I believe there are a few reasons for that: 1. People don’t often build the type of relationships in which it’s appropriate; 2. Many churches don’t make this Biblical practice a part of their culture and therefore people just don’t understand the importance and benefits; 3. Many churches are all about getting people in the door and less about the spiritual growth of the congregation; 4. People are not used to being confronted about their sin; and 5. People are unwilling to move past their comfort zone into all that God has for them.

Admonishment is not a bad word when you understand the meaning, purpose and benefits. The word “admonish” doesn’t mean to discipline someone. The actual translation is more like “a warning”. In other words, when you admonish someone you are warning them about sin they may not see and/or the possible consequences of that sin. It is not a harsh spiritual lashing, but a loving warning from a friend…an encouragement to turn away from a sin that is detrimental and in order to grow spiritually.

The benefits of admonishment are beautiful. When my husband and I first got married and lived in Scotland, we were part of a church that truly believed in discipleship and New Testament relationship. My pastor’s wife, a wonderful sister who encouraged me in so many ways, admonished me at times in my walk and in my marriage. While no one’s pride enjoys their sin being brought to life, I was open to her warnings and they ultimately brought me into a deeper relationship with God, a much better marriage and a more full church life experience. We are called to admonish one another for the sake of edification.  The scripture is full of examples and instruction in this way.

“I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.” Acts 20:29-31

“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.” 1 Corinthians 4:14

“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you…” 1 Thess. 5:12

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1

“Do not regard him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother.” 2 Thess.3:15

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.” Proverbs 19:20

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” 2 Timothy 4:2

 

In order to build a community and a culture in which admonishment is  a normal part of life, we need to build close relationships. I know that as a believer I want my closest friendships in the body to be with others who want all of what God has for us. Therefore I want to build up relationships where speaking the truth in the love (even admonishment) is welcome and expected. We have to build relationships for this to happen. Admonishing someone you barely know is not always wise or expedient. We don’t run around warning everyone of their sin. This is an aspect of the church family that is found in close knit relationships, where iron sharpens iron (usually making a spark) and where the entire relationship is covered in love, prayer and truth.

Pray about it brethren. Pray about building relationships within the church family that are strong enough to be real with one another. Walking in love and unity, take on the call to admonish, confess, edify and help one another grow up into spiritual maturity. It’s what God wants. We know that from the scripture. We need this blessed benefit of the church family in our lives. We certainly do.

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Playing the Blame Game

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It’s been the way of mankind since the fall in the Garden of Eden. Man blames woman. Woman blames the serpent. It’s the blame game in full effect. Funny enough, despite efforts to “pass the buck”, all three were punished there in the Garden. All three had sinned against God indeed. Yet, when times get difficult, and we know they always do, it can be so easy to get into pointing fingers and assigning blame, and this can be a real marriage killer. I know…I’ve struggled with this one a lot over the years!

There are going to be trials and tribulations in life that are no one’s fault in particular, but we so often feel the need to blame each other and to consequently take our disappointments out on the “guilty” party. Sometimes the problem has been caused by one person’s bad choice. Instead of simply realizing that we all make mistakes and then picking up the pieces together, we come unleash our wrath and sometimes hold onto the issue far longer than what is necessary or prudent.

We had a funny example of this just the other night. We drove to a friend’s house and it was still somewhat light outside. I was driving. I parked the car, but I thought we were just running something in, so I left it at a funny angle and with the lights and everything on. We got out and were talking and our friends invited us in for a few minutes. My husband took the keys and went to roll up windows and turn off the car. We went inside, had a splendid time of fellowship, and when it was time to go we realized the car lights had been left on for the past hour or so.

We both immediately jumped to blame the other person. He blamed me because I had been the one driving. I blamed him because he had been the last person in the car. It was a funny little exchange that happened in those few seconds until my husband tried to start the car. Thank the Lord, it started without a problem! We were all relieved and even laughed later about our little blame game standoff.

This was a much lighter example than the hundreds we could discuss. Common reasons a spouse blames another include such troubling issues as: finances, child training, infertility, home maintenance and lack of family devotion time. We need to realize how damaging it is to our marriage and our family when we play the blame game. It can be quite serious. We are supposed to be on the same team. We are supposed to be cheering one another on and then comforting each other when we fall. Tearing each other down and pointing the finger only weakens ourselves. Here are some important concepts to remember next time you’re tempted to play the blame game:

1. We are all sinners and failures at some point. 

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

2. We are one flesh, so blaming and tearing down our spouse is like doing it to ourselves.

So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Matthew 19:6

3. Blaming your man is not respectful.

However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.” Ephesians 5:33

4. Pointing out your husband’s failures is not loving.

And so train the young women to love their husbands and children…” Titus 2:4

5. The blame game is bad for everyone in the home, including the children. It tears the home down and makes it weaker instead of stronger.

The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down.” Proverbs 14:1

 

Instead of being one of those wives who is constantly pointing out where your husband is to blame for the problems you face, why not try being his helpmeet? The perfect helper wouldn’t point out the mistakes and assign blame, but rather comes alongside and helps pick up the pieces. She makes him look better – not worse. She ministers to him when he is disappointed in himself. She shares the burden, not passes it. She edifies him with her words and actions. This is the kind of wife I long to be. Praise the Lord that He continues to teach us.

 

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