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Friday, June 17, 2011

Family Trouble

2 Don't call attention to yourself;
   let others do that for you. 
(Proverbs 27:2)

The New Living Translation puts this same passage this way:  "Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips."  There are many things that are outlined within the Proverbs that deal with the use of our "tongue" (speech), relationship issues (and how not to have them!), and keeping a right perspective on just who / what we are (humility).  The lessons are numerous, but the rewards of having learned those lessons well are even greater!

Humility is something we don't easily learn!  In fact, everything within us wanted to be noticed from the first time we took a breath!  Why else do you suppose we cried every time we thought it was time to eat, have a diaper changed, or just be bounced on a knee as the center of attention?  The hard truth is that we learn humility in times of haughtiness!  Whenever we elevate ourselves to a place of importance in our own eyes, we are on a dangerous course of having someone point out just how insignificant we are in the scheme of eternity!

The fact of the matter is that we are repeatedly advised to keep a humble opinion of ourselves and an openness to the talents/contributions to those around us.  Why do you think God designed us to exist within community?  One reason is so we learn that we don't have it all together!  If we only had ourselves as an example of the image of Christ, we'd have a totally flawed image!

Each of us reflects Christ in a unique way.  One may reflect his outgoing, people-focused side.  Another may display his prayerful, intercessory characteristic.  Still another may give us an awareness of his unmerited favor - by displaying grace repeatedly when it is least deserved.  Community provides that "display" of God's character in each member - each uniquely connecting with God and bringing forth the dynamics of that "connection" to those they share with in community.

Instead of poking fun, finding fault, or belittling those within our community of influence, we need to look for the ways they reflect Christ - or turn us toward Christ for more of his grace in our own lives.  By definition, community is a group sharing common characteristics.  That means we are placed within, or choose to place ourselves within, a group of individuals with somewhat similar character traits to what we possess.  If we too closely "mesh" in those characteristics, we sometimes "clash".  

Put two head-strong individuals together and you get friction.  Put two timid individuals together and you rarely get any decisions made.  Put two givers together and they will constantly be trying to out-give the other.  You see what I am getting at, don't you?  We need people with other talents, other gifts, in order for us to realize growth in our lives.  Look around you today - who have you been placed with in community?  What strengths do they display that you would possibly benefit from if they could mentor you in those strengths?  What passions do others share that you need to embrace in order to display the character of God in a more distinct way in your life?

When we are open to possibility that we don't have it all figured out, we are open to growth.  We are placed within community for both of those purposes - to help us realize that we don't have it all together, and that we have opportunities for growth.  Welcome to he family!