Friday, October 30, 2009

Hey, That's My Dirty Underwear You Are Looking At!

Good morning my friends. I apologize for the tardiness of the post this morning but I took advantage of a later start to our school day and slept in an extra hour. It feels great. We are finishing off Ephesians 6.

If there is one thing that the Body of Christ needs in this age in which we live, it is openness, transparency. If there is one thing that the body is not good at in this age in which we live, it is openness, transparency. As members of the one Body, partakers of the one Spirit, and recipients of the one love, we are suppose to encourage, lift up, support and keep each other accountable. We cannot do this if we are not honest with each other. Look at Paul's conclusion to his letter:

Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. vs. 21-22

Paul was transparent. He wanted the saints to know him, to know how he lived, to know what he did, to know what was being done to him. It would have been easy for Paul to do his own thing and tell no one. Instead he surrounded himself by people like Tychicus and Timothy, who he gave the authority to share with others everything about himself. Paul was a model for the Church. Study his letters and it will not take you long to understand that Paul applied the teaching of Jesus to the Body as he taught people about mutual encouragement, respecting each other out of love, watching over each other and so on. What he describes is beautiful but it requires openness.

Here is the thing: today openness is almost being forced upon us. There really is no more sense of privacy in this internet world. There are no such things as secrets. Politicians and leaders are discovering this the hard way as their errors in judgment flash around the internet world. It is even worse if it happened to be caught on video. Some people are horrified by this but should we be all that concerned? After all the Word tells us that what is done in secret will be shown to everyone on the day of judgement. That is why Paul taught accountability and openness and demonstrated it in his own living. Is it not better to deal with our weaknesses and sin now then have to face it when we stand before Jesus?

I for one welcome the opportunity for my church to know what I am doing so they can have a peace of mind knowing that I am occupied with the Kingdom but there is a flip side. There must also be a trust that if they do not understand something they will ask instead of assume. Sometimes in this internet age only part of the information gets through and things may not look so good. This is when people need to be mature enough to ask questions. It is part of the openness and keeping each other accountable. Some leaders may find this intimidating but they better get over it. It is because of a lack of accountability that leaders have gotten into so much trouble in the past. Some will say that they are accountable to a small group of people. That's fine when it comes to our thoughts and plans but our actions are evident to everyone and we should be glad they are. Leaders need to model what they desire to see in their people at all times. They also need to be willing to confess their sins, faults, mistakes, errors of judgment so they can be forgiven and no barrier will remain between them and those for whom they are responsible.

Of course all this openness must exist in an atmosphere of love. Love allows forgiveness. If there is openness there will be messy things that come up. Do we avoid it or do we deal with it with the fruit of the Spirit; patience, love, mercy, forgiveness and the rest? Note the last line of the letter:

Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love. v. 24

What God desires the Body to be is not possible if we do not live in grace. We must receive it and we must give it. Living in openness means that all the rough parts are showing. It means we will discover people are discouraged more often than we think. Discouragement is a big thing in the Church and can only be dealt with when people are honest about it. Unchecked discouragement can lead to many sins including the grieving of the Spirit.Yet discouragement is often times easy to deal with when people are aware. This is only one example. We do not think less of a person because they are discouraged. It does not mean they love the Lord less. It simply means they are tired, they have lost sight, they have lost their way for a moment and they need a brother or sister to place their arm around them and help them get back to the path. No big deal and we all need it.

There are so many lessons we need to learn to function as a healthy member of the Body of Christ. This is just one more and in the age in which we live it is one that is becoming easier to live. So do not fear the new openness in the Church, embrace it and let us pray that the Spirit gives us the maturity to handle it. So family,

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

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