I’m about to use Yoda as a model for Christian love. If you haven’t seen the Star Wars movies, you’ll probably be mystified by what I’m about to say. This is not the article you’re looking for.
Our home group recently spent a few weeks discussing Christian love. We were focusing on how to love people facing particularly difficult problems like depression or relationship crises. We were thinking about how, in these situations, we could ‘speak the truth in love’ (Eph 4:15). We talked a lot about some of the mechanics of speaking the truth in love: for example, how do you ask the kind of questions that get to the heart of the issue? When a person reveals personal information to you, how do you organize the information in your head? Most importantly, how do you bring the gospel of Jesus Christ to bear in the situation?
We soon discovered that there were two kinds of people in the group. Firstly, there were the ‘naturals’, people who were instinctively good at loving people facing hard times. They knew how to be kind, they knew when to listen, they knew when to comfort and when to challenge. When it came to speaking the truth in love, they were Jedis. But there were others, like me, who were less intuitive. We needed to be more deliberate and conscious. We were more like apprentices, young Luke Skywalkers.
To some of the Jedis, all this talk about the ‘mechanics’ of love seemed a bit wrong. They thought: “Isn’t it a bit cold and calculating? Isn’t it inauthentic, formulaic, non-relational? Surely you just have to love people genuinely, from the heart, and the rest will follow?”
But after a while these Jedis realized something: the apprentices were different from them. The ‘just do it’ approach didn’t work for the apprentices at all. In fact, the apprentices needed the wisdom of the Jedis. We needed them to reflect on what they were doing, to break it down into little bits and teach us.
In other words, we needed the Jedis to become Yodas. Yoda was more than just a Jedi. He was a Jedi master. He knew that other people didn’t share his natural intuition. He reflected long and hard about his own innate Jedi skills. He was patient and kind. He shared his Jedi powers with Luke, in simple steps, so that Luke could understand and learn.
The Jedis in our group were very gracious to us. They became Yodas for us—and it was incredibly helpful.
When it comes to speaking and serving the body of Christ, what gift comes ‘naturally’ to you? In this area, can you become a Jedi master, break it down, and teach the rest of us?
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