A LESSON IN LOVE
Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. (Ephesians 4:15, NIV)
It has been seven years since I have played a competitive round of golf. I have played fun matches, but these rounds usually include a few shots played outside the “rules of golf.” During these seven years, I have also not engaged in any form of intentional practice other than hitting a few warm-up shots. And even that has been rare.
Each time we risk speaking truth, we are called to do so in love.Something has shifted inside of me and I am beginning to practice again. The reason coincides with the fact that I signed up to play in the 2016 Michigan Women’s State Open with only a month to prepare. Nothing like jumping back in with both feet.
Even though I have played decent golf despite my lack of practice, I immediately knew that I needed a lesson. You see, what we feel in our golf swings is not usually what is really happening. Whether amateur or pro, it’s important to have another’s eyes looking at our swing because we cannot see our own flaws. With one video clip, my instructor showed me how I wasn’t turning my hips on the backswing. As I practice on my own I am now aware of what I need to pay attention to.
Even though it doesn’t feel good to be corrected (especially when I felt like I was doing okay), I didn’t seek advice to merely be patted on the back and told, “You’re all good,” when the truth is I had a real flaw that needed to be addressed.
And here we are again: another junction where golf and life collide. This principle of having another’s eyes looking at us is even more important as we continue along the path of spiritual maturity. While we are quick to notice the flaws in our loved ones, friends, co-workers, and even strangers, we are most blind to recognize our own distorted perceptions, critical judgments, anger, pride, gossip, contempt, and other protective strategies we routinely engage in every day.
We need each other! We need safe and trusted people who have permission to speak truth to us about our flaws to be our extra eyes. It is our responsibility to ask our trusted friends to offer this truth-telling, even if it is not going to feel good. Then we need to be willing to actively receive their input. Likewise, we are to lend our eyes to others.
In the fourth chapter of his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul discussed the necessity of the unity of spirit among the body of Christ and that Christ has equipped his people for works of service to build each other up into maturity. Instead of being tossed around by the winds of deceitful teaching, we are to speak the truth to each other in love. The essential truth: there is only one way to eternal life and that is through a relationship with Jesus.
Just like we need to have a swing instructor to recognize the flaws in our golf swings, we also need another’s eyes to help us see the flaws that inhibit us from growing in spiritual maturity. And each time we risk speaking truth, we are called to do so in love.
June 30, 2016
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