Rebuking a brother or sister in Christ can seem like a punch in the face. It is one of the hardest parts of Christian fellowship to implement, and particulaly to implement well. We shy away from rebuke for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is out of fear of causing hurt, or damaging our relationship with that person. We convince ourselves is actually unkind, we’ll do more harm than good, that someone else is probably closer to them and should bring it up, or maybe that the Holy Spirit will reveal the sin to them in his time, so it’s not up to us to breach the discussion.
No one really enjoys sharing their weaknesses, let alone their sins. Even if we understand the great benefit that can come through sharing and confession to others (for both ourselves, our fellowship, and even for others learning from our mistakes), it can feel humiliating. We are often ashamed of our sin, discouraged by our failings, and now more than ever through social media, we can really portray ourselves how we want to be seen, having it all together in a ‘perfect’ life – so why would we want to tarnish that by sharing how short of the mark we fall?
As I explored a bit in my first reflective post Reflecting on Reflecting, I think that vulnerability and, alongside it, openness and authenticity is a vital part of Christian growth and community, so I want to share with you one (or some!) of my recent failings and what I have been reflecting on it.
Today I witnessed my first serious trauma admission in the Emergency Department. When a trauma call is made, it is ‘all hands on deck’. As soon as a call comes through from the paramedics, the team starts preparing—the room, the equipment, the medications. Everyone knows their roles and there is a set protocol of what needs to happen to stabilise the patient. Specialist teams are on standby, so specific skill sets are available if necessary – an anaesthetist for managing the airway and ventilation, neurology and neurosurgery teams for looking after the brain, and surgeons in preparation for managing the sustained injuries. Trauma is unexpected, it can be messy, and outwardly, it is often very clear what is going on—if a leg is cut open and bone is sticking out, you know that there is a fracture and probably a lot of blood loss.
When you hear someone mention Satan, what is the first thing you think of? Do you envisage a little red man with horns carrying a pitch fork? Do you think of fire and lava? Or simply that he is the ‘villain’ and Jesus is the hero of the Bible fairy-tale? When we start reading the history of God and humanity in the Bible, it doesn’t take long for us to be introduced to Satan, and the very first thing we learn about him is that he is a deceiver, a liar.