Admonishment = high-octane encouragement

By Dave Henning / March 13, 2020

“Admonishment is high-octane encouragement.  The word literally means ‘putting in mind.’  To admonish is to deposit truth into a person’s thoughts.  Above all, admonishment is truth spoken into a difficult circumstance.  It inserts the chlorine tablet of veracity into the algae of difficulty.”- Max Lucado

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”- Colossians 3:16 (ESV)

In Chapter 9 (“Speak Up”) of How Happiness Happens, Max Lucado observes that, from one moment to another, someone invites you into their hurt.  You didn’t volunteer for this assignment.  Rather, that person drafted you.  Also, you didn’t reserve a slot on your calendar to discuss this hardship.  But sometimes, Pastor Lucado admits, you have no choice.

So, Max asks, what do you say to someone who believes that God’s MIA?  Do you agree or disagree?  And do you say little, or a lot?  Thankfully, the New Testament story of Lazarus reveals how Jesus chose to respond to such situations.  John’s gospel begins the account of Lazarus’ death with these words: “A man named Lazarus was sick.  He lived in Bethany (John 11:1, NLT).”

Obviously, a common human condition.  Because everyone gets sick.  However, one detail made Lazarus’ situation uncommon.  John 11:3 describes Lazarus as Jesus’ dear friend.

Therefore, when Lazarus died before Jesus arrived in Bethany, a distraught and brokenhearted Martha goes out to express her despair to Him.  Yet, in Jesus’ response, He asked Martha if she believed that “everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never ever die (John 11:26, NLT).”

Admonishment represents the Bible’s word for Jesus’ response.  In addition, Max states, admonishing might take the form of:

  • discipline
  • encouragement
  • affirmation
  • commendation
  • correction

Above all, the author concludes, when you admonish you speak up.

Today’s question: When you think of admonishing, do you tend to view it solely in a negative context?  Please share.

Coming Monday: the March Short Meditation – “When the whole world walks away, God stays”

Tomorrow’s blog: “Strugglers – admonish them with truth”

About the author

Dave Henning

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