Monday, August 26, 2013

Where God's Love Leads...Looking at 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (part 2)

 After our first week of "back to homeschool", I am back to Monday posts!

We've been looking at the idea of leading to repentance and love, and how this leading is an act of true grace...

Today we will look at the idea of "reproof" as stated in 2 Timothy 3:16 (NASB):
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable...for reproof...

What is your 'gut' reaction when you read that word "reproof"?  Do you feel the cringe of criticism?  The flush of guilt?  A feeling of never being enough or of wrongdoing?  Do you feel a sense of security and peace, knowing that a correction to keep you from danger has been offered?  This word is also translated: 

rebuke - HSCB
correction - ISV, Douay-Rheims Bible, others
pointing out errors - God's Word Translation
 conviction - Darby Bible Translation
convincing - Weymouth New Testament
to make us realize what is wrong in our lives - New Living Translation 

Wait, the shame and disgrace didn't come till later?  Criticism for a fault became part of its definition in the 14th century?  I wonder...could it have meant something else before the Middle Ages; as in when the original Apostles were ministering and writing what was to become the New Testament?

Remember how in the first post of this series, that God's love and His kindness are what leads to repentance?  What if "reproof" was originally a "love language" - and the definition has been distorted over the years.  What if...we have cringed over this word when we might have leaned into Him to hear His heartbeat?  What if love shown a light into the dark - hard to see, impossible to see - places...and shown so much light there that what is needed to bring correction (think healing) is plain to see?  Like a doctor taking an x-ray to see where the damage is in order to do precise, targeted surgery. 

According to Thayer's Lexicon of the Greek language, the word translated "reproof" does carry such a meaning...elegchō: by conviction to bring to light, expose...   

Can you envision the Great Physician shining His x-ray light into the areas of your life in order to show where  - the break, the tumor, the tear, the foreign particle - is that is causing problems?  And He is gentle and kind, inviting you to take a look, to perhaps agree, and then to embark on a plan of treatment together.  And since the Physician has such a bedside manner, He encourages His helpers to have a like spirit:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy.

If reproof comes as a life giving light, and with gentle instruction, I believe I could be convinced to change my thinking, my direction, and let Him change my heart...wouldn't you?

Till next time, abundant blessings to you...