Have you ever seen someone learning to wakeboard and it just didn’t look pretty? Or fun? It looked painful. As I’ve coached campers to ride, I’ve thought many times, “Maybe since they’re only 10 years old they won’t wake up the next morning with a sore back, but the way they’re bent over… that would just kill my back!”
On Monday of any Teen Week session, you could probably create a 20 minute blooper reel of all the campers who are trying it for the first time on the cables and just wipe out, one after another. They put too much weight on their front foot and the nose of the board dipped under the surface of the water. Or they leaned forward over their hips way too much and some toeside edge caused them to hit the water. Or they pulled their arms in and their board just flew out from under them.
But, as Frontier Camp counselors and staff, we don’t just let campers try and fail over and over again without providing some gentle, corrective coaching. For each camper it’s different; some need to learn to bring the handle down to their hips which will help them stand up a little taller. Some need to put more weight on their back leg. Some need to put some more weight in their heels. Other campers need to keep their knees bent and arms strong. Whatever it is, our staff provide consistent instruction catered toward each individual camper designed to help him or her to grow and improve as a rider.
The same is true of our spiritual walk. We need people who care about us and are a little more skilled to come alongside us and provide some corrective coaching when we are doing something painful. As Christ-followers, we need people who love us to speak truth into our lives when we’re in sin.
1 Corinthians 13:6 says, “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.” Love and truth are inseparably woven together. When we see someone in sin, out of love for them and for the Lord we should not go on condoning that behavior or turn a blind eye. It is on us as the body of Christ to gracefully and lovingly approach a believer in sin and point it out to them, encouraging them toward a higher standard.
Parents do this all the time. In love, parents constantly point out to children how they are wrong, discipline them, and train them in the way they should go. (Proverbs 22:6)
But what about within our relationships with other adults? Friends from church, your adult sibling, a friend from work. It can be hard to point out sin when it’s someone very close that we feel we have a peer-like relationship. Recently, I’ve had to approach someone with whom we were more than acquaintances and I would consider us decent friends. But I wasn’t completely confident that we have the relational capacity to guarantee that pointing out sin wouldn’t result in a break in the relationship.
A lot of us put off confrontation not wanting to cause “conflict.” The reality is, if someone is in sin, he or she is in conflict already! With the Holy Spirit! Not being willing to graciously speak the truth is not loving. Maintaining a positive relationship at the cost of putting off a hard conversation isn’t love. Being unwilling to step into tense moments when there is wrong that needs to be exposed and discussed isn’t love.
The reality of love is this: when we were already dead in our sins, Christ – perfect truth – died for us. In His perfect love and truth, He moved toward us. He moved toward us because we were wrong. Just like Christ sacrificed Himself and endured the pain of the cross and death, love that speaks truth is willing to sacrifice ripples in a friendship and endure conflict so that you may be reconciled to God and to others. Truth spoken in love will result in growth and the building up of the body.
Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:15-16
As counselors apply corrective teaching to campers learning to wakeboard, you’d be surprised at how many of them are ready to approach features by Tuesday or Wednesday! They tinker and fix and perfect all the details of their form and grow in their confidence as a rider. Without the support of our summer staffer helping them polish their form, they’d be lost! They’d be hitting the water every time, without a chance. But with the support of someone who knows what they’re doing and is there to love them through it, they experience growth, fun, and confidence!