Wednesday, March 5, 2008

who are we? Part 1

Discovering "who you are" is probably one of the most popular things to do on the planet. Seriously, people love to spend time doing that. If you google the phrase self help you get more than 79 million responses. We are a culture actively invested in finding out who we are and making ourselves better.

I'm no different, many of the things I write including the SWORD concept are about discovering who I am and more importantly who I can be. But recently I read something in 2 Corinthians that convicted me about my journey.

In verses 3-10, Paul lays out a really beautiful, really simple definition of who we are. For the next few days, I'm going to dissect it. I'll give you the original verse and then my thoughts on how we can apply the truth to our daily lives. It will probably be a 5 part series or so and will start right now:

3We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.

This is probably the only rule I apply to any of the blogs I write. One of my biggest fears is that something I write will serve as a temptation or trigger for a reader. So I'm careful with what I say, but I think Paul's words go beyond that.

I think they reveal something about relationships that we might not realize unless we look a little deeper. The reality is that you can't prevent yourself from putting stumbling blocks in front of friends unless you are intimate with them. To some degree you must know their in's and out's. Now obviously, there are a handful of things that are obvious and visible and everyone struggles with, but who we are inside defines what our stumbling blocks are. And if we keep that a secret then we keep our blocks a secret too.

For instance, I don't chew tobacco. So if a friend wants to describe in intricate detail why he struggles with tobacco, that's OK. But if I did struggle with it, hearing his description could easily help trigger me to go buy some. Just hearing him talk about the buzz and the ritual and the taste and the feel could really be a temptation. If he didn't know I was a tobacco user, it would be easy for him to essentially create a "tobacco commercial" with his words.

So today, think about the obvious ways you might be creating stumbling blocks for others, but also be honest about the depth of your relationships. If they're all surface, it's going to be next to impossible for you to not create stumbling blocks.

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