April 16, 2019
…teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom…
Before acting on this biblical verse to admonish others, hopefully we have a few concerns. First, are we confident that we have the “all wisdom” to which the verse refers? Second, a brief look at a thesaurus suggests many negative connotations with the term “admonish”: reprimand, rebuke, scold, reprove, upbraid, chastise, chide, censure, castigate. Unfortunately, such negative connotations are prevalent in modern culture’s view of church life. This popular perspective of “churchiness” is a significant barrier to our Christian mission.
How then should we act on this biblical verse? Particularly relevant is the often-cited phrase: “What would Jesus do?” Jesus did admonish others, but his approach was caring and loving. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)
How did Jesus do it? Jesus went out and met others where they were. He did not ask for perfection before engaging with others. Jesus showed an interest in who they were and what they wanted. We focus on learning and quoting Bible verses of what Jesus said, but his teaching was marked by listening. Listening to each individual. Can we say we listen like Jesus did? Can we say we listen and understand others like Jesus did? Can we say we admonish others in all wisdom if we have not heard and understood others?
Admonishment should mean bringing the light of the Lord to a world in darkness, bringing all goodness, righteousness and truth. To fulfil our mission in a world that is crying out for Christian wisdom, we must strive to be as effective as Jesus in sharing the Good News.
Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children, and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us. (Ephesians 5:1-2)