Quit Hitting Yourself

Quit Hitting Yourself

When we were kids, my brother and I used to fight from time to time. He was great at this one particular move where he would grab my arm and proceed to beat on me with my own hand. Surely enough, he’d taunt me with these words, “Quit hitting yourself!” I know you know what I’m talking about.

Remember the story; it’ll come in handy later on.

Something About Me

I love words (says the writer.)

Words have great power over me. Wether I’m in a classroom, at a concert, or sitting in a small group the words spoken and sung in those environments have a dramatic impact on my experience. I’m hopelessly captivated by books, lectures, and meaningful conversation.

That’s why its easy for me to pick up the Bible and spend hours with God. That’s why I get great joy from sitting across a table and speaking Truth into ears that desperately need it. That’s why I labor in writing words for an audience that may or may not even exist.

Enough About Me

Maybe you don’t love the written word; you love music, or nature, or playing with children, and on we could go… Maybe your deepest experience of intimacy with God is found under a bridge while handing out blankets. Those are all wonderful things created for His glory and your joy.

Here’s a shocker: We’re two different people.

The manner in which God uses us will always be different. If God has given me the absurd compulsion to read dusty old Bible commentaries written by dead guys in funny hats (which he has,) then I’d be out of my mind to expect you to share that same peculiar passion.

Divide and Conquer

This is why community gets messy. You take a guy who just got done memorizing the entire book of Ephesians and put him in a room with a girl who couldn’t quote you anything past John 3:16, yet spends 2 hours a day devoted in prayer for others.

Two. Different. People. I smell a Christian sitcom…

All of a sudden, the Bible guy is snapping at the prayer girl for not knowing enough Scripture and the prayer girl is snapping at the Bible guy for not being “spiritual” enough. Both of them are self-righteous. Sparks fly and we quickly depart from the Biblical image of iron sharpening iron.

As one person slams the other, it becomes more like a large axe beating against a tree.

(Just take a guess at which one I identify with.)

Different Members of One Body

I’d strongly suggest reading 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, but here’s the meat of it:

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body…”
1 Corinthians 12:12-13 ESV

One body; many members… We need to stop looking at our unique spiritual wirings as points of division and embracing them as points of unity.

  • The Bible guy needs prayer girl to teach and model for Him that our relationship with God is so much more than one of mere intellectual assent.
  • The prayer girl needs Bible guy to help her discover the beautiful life-giving Truth that God’s Word has to offer.
  • Everyone else in the room needs these two to get along and bring their unique gifts to the conversation.

Quit Hitting Yourself

If we consider what the Bible says about believers being one body united in Christ, then an attack on one of our Christian brothers or sisters essentially becomes an attack on ourselves. Its about as silly and painful as hitting yourself with your own hand, yet we still do it.

So here are my questions for you…

  • Are you the Bible guy? Do you beat up on the people in your small group because they haven’t joined you in your quest to read the entire Bible in a week?
  • Or, are you the prayer girl? Do you cast the intellectual types in your small-group as mere theological bullies and question their devotion?
  • Have you decided that your way is the best way and that all of the other believers in your life should conform to your personal template for holiness?

If you said yes, then you’re not alone. I’m with you. We’re all with you.

Thank God that He loves us and gives us the grace to quit hitting ourselves.

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15 Responses to Quit Hitting Yourself

  1. Luke Stokes September 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    Great post, Kenny. I’ve often found myself steam rolling over people because of my passion and conviction of “right”ness. Part of that is natural, I guess. When we hear something from the Creator of the universe, it’s easy to think that is THE WAY and everything else is wrong. I’ve done that too many times.

    It’s only in the last few years that I’ve begun to understand that God treats us like individuals. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He knew us before we were born. Because He desires relationship above all else, He has individualized conversations with the result being what’s RIGHT for me may not be for someone else. We all have different stories and things get goofed up when we try to put our story on someone else.

    Thanks for the reminder and the insight.

    • Kenny Silva September 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

      Thank you for the thoughtful comment, Luke. I’m right there in the same boat with you. It takes a constant intentional effort to keep from letting our convictions get the best of us. Passion for the right things is important, but if we don’t temper that passion and point it in the right direction, we end up trampling on our brothers and sistes.

  2. Will Johnston September 22, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    You’re absolutely right. We need each other, and we need to help each other grow.  However, I think the key there is that growth is needed.  Prayer girl needs to know the Bible better, and Bible guy needs to pray.  I tend to be a do-er more than a read-er or a pray-er, but ultimately, I need to do all of them.

    I’ve been reading a book called The Whole Life Offering that talks about how we are called to offer all of ourselves as a living sacrifice, to be complete disciples of Christ.  The author takes things farther than I would, seemingly discounting the differing parts of the body as Paul talks about them, but I think he does make a good point that we are all called in some way to every aspect of discipleship.  A proclivity toward financial generosity doesn’t relieve us of the need to tangibly serve or spend time in prayer.

    • Kenny Silva September 22, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      Good points, Will. Just because you’re gifted in one area doesn’t absolve you of the need to grow in other areas. For me to say I know the Bible well enough to never have to pray would be ludicrous. We need to aspire to holiness in all the areas that the Bible would lay out for us.

      Thanks for recommending that book as well.

      • Will Johnston September 22, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

        Perhaps I should backtrack the book recommendation a bit.  It’s got some good content, but it’s pretty long and poorly written, so it’s tough to get through.  Read at your own risk 🙂

  3. Eszter Maros September 23, 2011 at 11:42 am #

    Great post, Kenny!
    Today someone told in a (non-christian) radio show that there are not so important parts of the body and I was like ‘Whaaaaaat?’ Every part of the body is important, isn’t it? It’s true for our physical body and for the Church as the Body of Christ.
    I think, we need to be honest to ourselves – what our strengths and weaknesses are… Because Bible guy knows he’s good at Bible reading and prayer girl knows she’s a prayer girl. So both of them should admit there are areas in their Christian lives they are weak in. In my opinion that’s why we need each other – to learn from each other. I’m grateful for people in my life who are great examples – in Bible reading, in praying, in hosting, in encouraging, in comforting etc.
    There’s so much ahead of me and thank God I’m never finished the learning process… 🙂

    • Kenny Silva September 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      Thank you so much for  your thoughts, Eszter. It really takes humility in order to admit our weaknesses. We need to be teachable so that we can allow others who are stronger in those areas to help us learn and grow.

  4. Rob Still September 23, 2011 at 8:35 pm #

    Hey Kenny, love the personal story to make the point “Its about as silly and painful as hitting yourself with your own hand” . That was funny.  I had the same experience as a kid.

    At times I’ve been one or both of those characters.

    Nice post. I also like to read “dusty old Bible commentaries written by dead guys in funny hats”

    Blessed are the peacemakers.

    • Kenny Silva September 27, 2011 at 12:27 am #

      Thanks so much for reading, Rob. You’re always a great encouragement!

  5. Caitlin Muir September 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    Funny, my brothers used to play that game with me when I was a kid! 

    It’s easy to sit smugly, convinced of our own rightness and importance. To cast down patronizing glances at the people we don’t understand, don’t want to understand, and don’t care to EVER understand. Because we’re perfect and they are sloppy, sinful, and well, wrong.But the bottom line is that we’re an organic body. We can’t go lopping off parts without there being seriously messy consequences. We need each other. 

    At least, that’s what I’ve been convicted of lately! 

    • Kenny Silva September 27, 2011 at 12:28 am #

      Haha I don’t know if I’ve ever met someone who hasn’t been hit with their own hand…

      Great point about the organic body in your comment. We try to cut off parts and it just doesn’t go well for us…

      • Caitlin Muir September 27, 2011 at 5:00 am #

        As a little girl, I thought it was just a game my evil older brothers played. I don’t know if it’s a comforting thought that everyone else went through it as well. haha

  6. Candice Jenee' September 28, 2011 at 6:08 am #

    This was great. I hadn’t quite thought of things this way.  Some of my favorite people to talk to are those who read the Bible less than I do, but pray to move the heavens. They help me learn more about a healthy prayer life, which sometimes gets out of balance with the amount of Bible I read/memorize.
    I also like how you pointed out that you have a “peculiar passion” because, I am sure each of us has our own “peculiar passion”. I too love words…in fact, I feel slightly like an addict to words – well, to life stories, actually. My peculiar passion is learning the story behind each person I possibly can, and walking through life with those I can. And, I’ll take whatever story people want to share, whether it’s in a small 5 minute conversation, or a 20+ year friendship.Thanks for sharing this. I hope you are blessed.

    • Kenny Silva September 29, 2011 at 3:07 pm #

      Thank you very much for sharing, Candice. Sadly, it’s a very rare person who genuinely cares about HEARING others life stories as opposed to telling their own. You’ve got a great gift and ability to serve and walk with others.

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