I remember a time early in my teens when I was disobedient and disrespectful to my mother. I said things to her that reflected my foolishness and rebellion. A while later at the trial, my dad began the prosecution’s case against me by appealing to truth. He did so with a convicting and clarifying question. The more I reflect on this (for some reason it has remained quite clear in my memory all these years), I have come to appreciate the disruptive power of a well-placed question. His question was, “Do you have any idea who you were talking to?”
Even as foolish as I was, I couldn’t reply with the obvious and literal, “Come on Dad, you know who that is—you are married to her!” That response not only would have cut my trial short, but would have missed the point of the question. The question clarified my theology about God and mothers and holiness. There are some things even foolish young teens should not dare to do because of the truth about parents and God. This is the disruptive power of a question.
I feel similar disruption of heart and mind with the piercing questions found in 1 Corinthians 3:3-4. After describing the behavior and slogans of the Corinthian church members, the questions are asked:
Are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
Are you not being merely human?
These questions force us to identify the ways and working of God in our lives. What gives evidence of the supernatural in our daily grind? The essential point of the questions is to shock us into realization that as God-called, Christ-following, Spirit-indwelt people, we have chosen to behave and think in a manner disconnected from our gospel heritage.
So, regarding your response to those who have hurt you, your generosity in unstable times, your humility when challenged, your words when aggravated, your response when provoked, your thoughts when enticed—can you be accused of being merely human? Or as my dad might say, “Do you have any idea who you are choosing to leave out of your life right now?”
A significant challenge that many of us face is that of allowing people into our lives who will ask us disruptive questions which are totally motivated by truth and love for us. That is one of the benefits of being called into the fellowship of Jesus Christ; we shouldn’t be allowed to live in self-reliant isolation. Over the summer, please join me in asking God to faithfully visit us as we focus in our Sunday 10:45 hour with adults and teenagers on learning to open and connect our lives to other Christ-focused people. And pray for the leadership class of about 20 men who have set aside these summer Sunday mornings to learn to lead and encourage this kind of authentic community in our church family.
I thank God for disruptive questions from people who love me and love truth. I thank God for my dad, and that by God’s grace I made it alive through that incident to repent and honor my mom.