Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Calling Out and Calling Up

Admonishment. It's a word that isn't in the average person's vocabulary. The spiritual act of admonishment lies somewhere between a rebuke and an encouragement; not quite the positive connotation of exhortation, but neither the negative of scold. As Paul calls out the Corinthian church in chapter 4 on their childish ways and immature divisions, he does so out of a motivation of love:
I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 
A simple definition of admonishment: it is a calling out and a calling up. To call someone out requires pointing out something they did wrong, some action or attitude that was less than Jesus-y. To call them up means to spur them on towards Godliness in their life, to repent and grow and change, and offer to lovingly pace alongside them as they do.

To be admonished is really hard. To admonish someone else might even be harder. People can get defensive, arrogant, or promote shame. But admonishment is a key practice behind living in Christ-centered community. We cannot grow without the conflicts, the honest conversations, and the grace bestowed upon each other to both listen and speak. The motivation cannot be to simply tear down or judge others, but to honestly point out the sin that is present so that both people can grow closer to Jesus together.

I need you to call me out and call me up when I am wrong, and you need me to do likewise.

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