Monday Pondering: the time and effort to help us grow up


I just love Eugene Peterson. Especially for spearheading The Message translation of the Bible.

Now yes, I am that uptight structure nazi who had to get the ‘Remix’ version because having no verse references whatsoever made me completely freaking mental. But once poor Pastor Peterson was browbeaten into that one change, his book became such a useful tool.

So often he translates things in a way that thwap me upside the head and make me see them rather than just read them, or give me a new perspective on them.

One such passage is 1 Corinithians 4:15:

“There are a lot of people around who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.”

I have noticed this a dozen times or more, and it impresses me more each time. It impresses me far more than the million or so times I had read it in other translations.

I can understand JUST what my man Paul is talking about! I have been on the receiving end of both the ‘good father’ instruction, and, alas, the ‘I just want to tell you what you’ve done wrong’ instruction.

I imagine you have too. They have a rather different impact, don’t they?

I fear I’ve also been on the GIVING end of both.

But this verse, coupled with SO MUCH that I’ve seen, heard, learned, makes me want to do better. I have finally figured out, at my advanced age, that it actually IS true that people need more mentors than they need critics.

I am ALL about accountability, confession, and helping each other grow, but this reminds me that there are effective ways to do that, and ineffective ways that just don’t do it. I want to be on the right side of that equation, don’t you?

So, today, why not look for situations in which we can build each other up, support each other in needs, and contribute to each other like good fathers or mothers contribute to their children’s development by investing and caring?

I think we’ll be a lot more successful in the end, and a lot happier on the way.