and it’s called today.

exhort:

1.  to urge; advise; or caution earnestly.

2.  to give urgent advice; recommendations; warnings.

admonish:

1.  to caution; advise; or caution against something.

2.  to urge to a duty; remind

We live in a nation where individuality is hailed as the all mighty and where openness of mind is bowed to as king.   Our society totes forward thinking as the way to the future and allowing everyone to do whatever they want as the very salt of the earth.

Sleep with whomever you want to sleep with!  Marry whomever you want to marry (or don’t bother)!  Worship food, worship money, worship fame and power!  Worship yourself most of all and don’t let anything come in the way of that.  Not a person or a job or a baby.  If it doesn’t work for Queen You just get rid of it!  Believe what you want to believe or deny a belief in anything!  Dress however you like, cover yourself with tattoos, pierce yourself until the cows come home and who even knows what a natural hair colour IS anymore!

We live in a do what’cha wanna do culture and we pride our nations on being free and accepting of all.

Except when we’re not.

Because let’s be honest.  We’re really not.

Oh sure, it works well when people are on our side and agree with what we believe is right and good and important but we’re not really fans of disagreeing with others in our parts of the land.

Because I’m free to believe what I want – so the story goes – but nobody really loves it when I say what I really believe.

And nobody thought that Mike Jeffries speaking what he believed was all that great.  Or Kermit Gosnell doing what he did.  No – we rose up and we picketed and we boycotted and we said that we wouldn’t support those guys!

So much for being accepting of everyone, right?

But those guys were bad.  So how about when we talk about politicians or religious leaders or how the police acted in a certain way that one time.  What about then?  Technically those are all the good guys.

So let’s just admit that we’re accepting when it suits us.  We’re not very happy when it doesn’t.

That was just the intro guys….still with me?

My heart has been weighted with the words of scripture, specifically biblical words that speak to us of how we ought to live.  Sure, it’s easy to understand the ones that are obvious like do not murder and don’t cheat on your wife.  I think most of us like those ones.  They make us feel good about ourselves when we check the list and know that we haven’t broken any of the BIG TEN so we must be fine.

But what about this one:

“But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  Hebrews 3:13

Have you done any exhorting lately?  I’m pretty sure I haven’t. (unless you count my 3 munchkins cause they get exhorted ALL the  live long day!)

It’s strange to me that we can take the scripture so seriously and yet leave such big chunks of it untouched.  I truly feel like this demand in scripture is one that has moved out with today’s culture.  Because like I said above, we don’t like anyone telling us what to do!  But scripture says exactly the opposite.  It says that we’re suppose to be telling each other what to do every. single. day.  (it also talks of not angering so I’m pretty sure we’ve got to take it with a good heart)

It can start to feel lonely in this individualistic society that we are.  Noone bravely telling you where you’ve messed up.  Noone admitting they need help.  Everyone just plugging along in their own unhappy way.

So here’s the thing, I was admonished this week and it made my heart so incredibly happy!  It made me see the beauty of why we’re told that we need each other, we need to correct each other.  It made me see that sin is deceptive and I won’t always see the err of my ways but those around me, those that know me and love me, they do.  Yet they know my heart and know how I long to live and so bravely stepped forward to tell me where I might have been just a smidge out of line.

Know what?  I couldn’t love them more.

In fact, I don’t know if I’ve felt more loved all week and I’ve had a lot of snuggles from my kiddo’s and a few heart fluttering kisses from my love.

It made me feel so loved because it was brave.  Someone had to wrestle through whether or not they should approach me.  Whether or not they should say anything or just leave it alone.  They had to pray through it and pray for me that I would receive the correction in the way they intended, from a heart of love.

It made me feel so loved because it was uncomfortable for the person to have to do it.  Noone loves to be the one to step up and say, “Um, excuse me!!!  No!  That’s wrong.  You’re not acting right!  That’s a sin!”  Because we can feel it in our hearts as we read that sentence, can’t we?  How much we never want to have to say that to someone.

It made me feel loved because the Holy Spirit didn’t let up on this person and weighted them down with ME!  So much so that they had to address me.  Had to correct and set straight and caution strongly.  They had to urge and give advice and make warnings.  The Holy Spirit did that through them for ME, people!  Do you get how cool that is?!  The Holy Spirit was working on my behalf and I didn’t even know it.  I still wouldn’t know it if the person hadn’t listened to the promptings and brought it to me.  If they had denied what was placed on their heart and rather chosen a place of comfort and security and just gone to Starbucks with friends instead of saying, “um….we should talk about his.”

It made me feel loved because they did it in love.  They weren’t harsh or angry.  They don’t want my sin made public to shame me.  They aren’t smearing my name behind my back.  Instead they came to me, quietly, respectfully, and with honour.  I felt honour, in getting rebuked.  Now THAT’s a good rebuking!

Wanna know what else?  They were right and I didn’t think to argue for one second.  Rather just admit it.  You’re right.  I didn’t even see it.  Thank you for opening my eyes to where I am being deceived.  Thank you for pulling me back from a path just a bit too far astray.  Thank you for showing me scripture and what it says and what it doesn’t and holding me up to that bar.  Thank you!

Because had they just gone to Starbucks instead I wouldn’t know how much they loved me.  I couldn’t see on my own that I was wrong.  I wouldn’t have know where I needed to make some adjustments and where I need to be extra especially careful in the future.

I love the words from 1 Corinthians 4:14:

“I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.”

This should be the way, shouldn’t it?  That we do not correct or rebuke or exhort or admonish to shame but to love.  We need to ready our hearts for both the giving and receiving of such things.  We need to know that the truth is that we need this every day.  In my life it’s happening twice a year which makes me think I may be more deceived in my life than I ought to be.

Think on these verses this week.  Think about how you would accept correction or whether you’re brave enough to be the one lovingly doing the rebuking.

(as an aside, don’t ever rebuke those you have no relationship with.  Its just not going to go well.  It never will.  This needs to come from close and connected people who are living and striving together in this life.  No random walk-up’s at the mall to tell some unsuspecting person all their faults, and then tell them I told you to, m’kay?!)

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