The Architect (part six)
This series covers themes common to my coaching work with pastors, church planters, and Christian influencers.
This sixth installment underscores the truth that you are the co-architect of all your relationships.
And, you’re the sole architect of the way you are in each one.
Consider the New Testament’s Saul: a fanatical, brutal intimidator of Jews who’ve converted to Christianity. He’s a champion, prominent among the Pharisees—the most committed adherents to Judaism.
In Acts 7, though a young man, Saul is superintending the stoning murder of Stephen after he’s pulled from the Sanhedrin. Acts 8 reveals Saul “destroying the Church”, dragging Christians from their homes to prison. As Acts 9 opens he’s “breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples”. Saul obtains approval from Damascene synagogue leaders to kidnap converts to Christ, transport them 700 miles to Jerusalem, and imprison them there. So menacing is his reputation that Ananias begs God to not send him to pray for the restoration of Saul’s sight.
Immediately after his conversion, Saul, by himself, begins the most radical re-architecting of relationship with both Christians and Jews. In verse 20 he “spent several days with” the believers he’d been committed to destroy. He returns to synagogue, not as their favorite son, but preaching the supremacy of Christ. He’s so effective that the Jews conspire to kill him. At the same time, Saul has so thoroughly re-architected his relationship with the Damascene Christians that he has “followers”. They help him escape the city by night.
Arriving in Jerusalem, Christ’s new champion is rebuffed by the leading disciples. They’re skeptical of his alleged conversion. Befriending Barnabas, Saul begins reinventing his relationship with Jerusalem believers and the Jews who will, in short order, want him dead.
Your estrangement from your spouse, child, or parent might, like Saul’s, have been years in the making. You may have caused harm by things you said or failed to say, by actions you took or failed to take, and by attitudes you embraced and failed to relinquish when you knew better.
Look, your past is indefensible. Mine too.
Yet, life is always lived from now on.
Up ‘til now, maybe you’ve been a coward. Self-consumed. Unforgiving. Tightfisted with tenderness. Effusive with criticism. Bound by fear. Immersed in acrimony.
None of that decides how you’ll live the rest of your days.
Years later, this same Saul is so dearly loved by Christian leaders nearby that they embrace him with kisses, grieving his departure. [Acts 20:37]
Coaching Distinctions #81.doc