Tag Archive: proverbs


This week has been a little fighty fighty on the Facebook and i’m not sure why.

i strongly suspect it is linked to the Rugby World Cup that has been happening as touching on that ‘holy grail’ in a country so passionate about the sport definitely touches a nerve. As does most conversation about race.

So in the midst of three days of more ‘taking people on’ than i am typically used to, i had someone post on my wall that he was “troubled by the fact that you have an opinion about everyone and everything” and concerned about something i’d called someone and suggesting i was not being consistent in my beliefs and actions.

Which hurt me a little bit?

WHAT? Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson hurt by something someone said? Well… you know… there’s a difference between ‘Not caring what people think’ and ‘Not caring what people think’.

i think everyone likes to be liked by people. And so when there is a moment of that not happening, it bums us out. Or maybe that’s just me, but there is definitely a moment of: ‘Oh no, someone doesn’t like me’.

When a second person jumped on the first person’s comment to back him up on the fact that i do have rather a lot to say on Facebook and i could be less rude, that didn’t help. [Although we did manage to talk it out and come to a bit more of a happy ending i believe].


i’m okay though. i didn’t cry myself to sleep. She may have turned me into a newt, but… i got better! [obscure but brilliant Monty Python reference]

There are a couple of things i feel might be worth mentioning around this, especially for people who constantly challenge and question and wrestle and invite others to do the same: There will be pushback. Not all of that pushback is going to be good or accurate or helpful. But not all of it is going to be bad. Some of it might even be a little bit of both.

So what do you do? Well there is this amazing line in one of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian church where he talks about ‘Testing the spirits. Holding on to the good and avoiding every kind of evil.’ Which is excellent advice.

Was what was said about me true? Was it totally true or was there any truth in there? If so, pay attention to it, learn and move on. [Maybe thank the person for pointing it out!]

If it’s not true at all, then let it go. i was talking to tbV about it in the car a little later and she reminded me about some things some other people had been saying to me recently which were helpful and true. They helped me to put both of these things in perspective.


One thing that was interesting was that both comments on this particular thread came from people i don’t think i’ve had any interaction with for years. Which doesn’t mean what they said was not true. But it does suggest that there is a lack of relationship and so i hold it a little more loosely than when my good buddy Bruce Collins challenged me on a stance i was taking on Facebook a few weeks ago and warned me that he thought i had crossed a line.

You see, i have invited Bruce to speak into my life. i have no doubt that he loves me and he has championed me and encouraged me and cheered when i have done well and loved me so much that when he questions something, it still hurts [who likes to be told they are wrong?] but i know it can be trusted. i won’t necessarily always agree with him either [because we’re different people although we definitely agree on more than we disagree on] but i will listen and really dig deeply into what i said and question it because i know it was spoken in love.


i imagine everyone’s process works differently. But the way it typically works for me is that if someone challenges me i will probably give immediate reaction push-back, but i will go and think about it later and it might take a day or two for me to process and realise, ‘Oh wait, actually they were right’ which means having to go back, tail between my legs and apologise to them and thank them for challenging me. But it happens.

And you don’t have to have good relationship with me to hold me accountable. i expect and invite everyone to hold me accountable for everything i say and do – i realise i live a bit of a public life and so that is completely necessary. But then there are certain people who i love and trust and have no doubt they love and trust me who i have invited to jump in when they see me out of line and bring rebuke and caution and challenge and so i am more likely to listen to them more easily and quickly than someone who is not.

Which makes a lot of sense. Because as i mentioned before, i am speaking/writing/sharing a lot about Race and Reconciliation and Christianity and Relationships and more and some of these topics get pretty heated. It would not be wise to agree with everything said to me in response to conversations had around those topics. But it is good to have some trustworthy people specifically watching my back on these to help keep me in line.

i am so grateful that my pool of people i trust to speak this kind of Truth in Love into my life is so huge. It is not easy being the person who brings the caution/challenge/rebuke as it is not easy being the person who receives it. But it is so crucially important and necessary to ensure a life that is consistent with beliefs, that will hopefully be used to be a part of significant conversation and action.

What has your experience with accountability been? Giving it or receiving it? Who are the people who you have invited to speak Truth in Love when it counts? 

[For some other thoughts on Friendship, click here]

so Thursday nite tbV and i went to a prayer-and-eats small group from the Re:Generation church we’ve been going to and that i preached at a couple of weeks ago.

it was all fun and games until one of the guys in the group mentioned something to me that another women had already told me at church the week after my preach [the experience which she had shared in common with two other women sitting near her at church making this the FOURTH person who had experienced the same thing]

turns out that for the most part everyone enjoyed my preach, but i had managed to confuse a bunch of people during one section of the preach when i started talking about the ‘God, You’re hot!’ phenomenon or movement that had been huge in South Africa. when i asked the congregation if ‘God, You’re hot!’ had been much of a big deal in this country no one really responded so i just put it down to ‘cultural difference’ and carried preaching up a storm.

Todd, who was the guy at our prayer-and-eat meet, said that he had gotten particularly interested when i said there was a verse in the Bible that spoke about ‘God, You’re hot!’ and he was all like? What? It says that in the Bible? And eagerly started to look it up.

Here is the verse, from the wise proverbs of King Solomon, chapter 4:

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

Yup, that’s right… take a fairly well-known Proverb, sprinkle in a little heavy South African accent… and suddenly ‘Guard your heart’ is transformed into the slightly less scripturally back-up-able “GOD… YOU’RE… HOT!”

Anyways, the point being that those are the four people we ‘caught.’ And where there’s four, there’s at least five and so in some household somewhere in Oakland, two weeks ago, someone returned home from church and their spouse innocently asked, ‘So honey, what was the preach on?’ 

“I have no idea. Something about God being hot. I stopped listening…”

so i meant to post this short one this morning on the back of ‘unaccounted for’ which a lot of people have read and some of you have commented on.

and it was this thort that i had the other day as i was walking down the street post rugby world cup ‘tragedy’ – that when we talk about the biblical concept of iron sharpening iron, it is not a pleasant, comfortable process although it does lead to positive, growth-enducing results

the way iron sharpens iron is by hitting it. hard enough to bend it. to mold it. to shape it into a new and better thing.

or as i just tweeted on the twitter, “When iron sharpens iron it doesn’t happen by means of a group hug.”

i imagine everyone, or at least most people, want to be better people – we want to be sharpened – we want to love better, to live better, to be more effective at this life thing… but most of us want to skip the ‘this is going to hurt you more than it hurts me’ bit and jump straight to the result…

we want the great teeth but without the pain of the dentist’s needle.

and i guess the main problem with that is that it doesn’t work that way. well not a lot of the time anyways.

iron sharpening iron requires some hitting and some shaping and some heatening of the context of the iron and i believe accountability [of word, action and facebook status for starters] is a huge part of that process.

but the reality is this – that accountability is not taken [well not successfully, not usually, i have the bumps and bruises and unfriendings to prove it] it is given. i invite you to speak into my life, to caution when i appear to be heading down the wrong road, to intervene when i seem to have lost it completely. and the kind of people i invite to hold me strongly accountable [because as a Christ follower i see myself directly accountable to everyone, both Christ-followers and those who don’t have right to speak into my life because i am claiming to at least pursue a certain standard – but then there are significant people i extend a bonus invitation to actively hold me there] are those who i know will do it in love. which is key to how effective that accountability is.

‘Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Proverbs 27.6

so if you’re really seeking to be a better person, to live more effectively, to have a greater significance in the world, then you need to invite the sharpening that only iron can bring… being reminded that it won’t always be fun, or feel nice… and sometimes it may even be painful and involve your pride being battered and your reputation being dented, but it is so worth it.

so won’t you please hand me the iron…

why is this stuff important? i don’t think this is about arisefest and my blog – not anymore, that was just a catalyst to a lot of in depth thinking about a crucial topic which i feel is hugely lacking in the church…

[was i right in wot i wrote about arisefest? i’m not sure, perhaps not – the one principle that was intentional though was mentioning names of some of the bands i was super amped with (so that those who were not there could still hear some praise of some of the individuals and groups who got it right – there were many more) and not mentioning names of bands/individuals who i thort maybe got it wrong (so that those who were not there didn’t get a gossip feed on something that didn’t concern them) – however, for those who were at the fest it was obvious as to two of the individuals i was referring to and that is consistent with my thorts on the public behaviour vibe (i do think it would have been a lot more fair on the mc guy to speak more in depth with him as opposed to the quick rebuke i gave to him in person – i have been trying to track him down to do so, but as of yet no-one has given me his name) and dealing with it…]

the principle i do want to look at is accountability – most people really don’t dig confrontation (maybe all people, altho i have met some do who seem to rather like it) in any shape or form and so just don’t do it at all – and so when our friends are caught up in sin (which is always going to be destructive – to them and probably those around them, at some time or other) we look the other way, because dealing with it will be awkward.

and it will. but it is necessary. and if the friends and family of people started taking more responsibility and ownership in the area of accountability/Truth-in-Love speaking/correction then it would not be left to third parties to feel the need/pressure to take it on themselves. and if it comes from friends/family then it is way more likely to be received well and effective because there is relationship there already…

proverbs 27.6 “wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” – that is an incredible verse and an amazing principle – if someone who is a good friend to me calls me on something/challenges in love/gently rebukes then it will still be a wound (no-one likes to know or hear they are wrong ever, it is the pride in us) BUT if it is from a friend then i know it can be trusted because i know they love me and want my good – an enemy on the other hand will look the other way and allow me to continue with behaviour or habits that will ultimately hurt me much more deeply or else even applaud me in the wrongdoing – they may think they are being my friend because they are not making me feel bad now, but ultimately their actions prove them to be an enemy because as the sin/habit increases so it will later take me down…

the Love of the “does anyone condemn you, no? well neither do I?” must be balanced by the Truth of the “go and sin no more”

if we can get this right, we will transform the church… and then the world…

so i was going to write a blog about confrontation and how there is a serious lack of it in the church

i know this because i have been doing it for years and it has often felt like a very lonely, deserted spot to set out your picnic basket

in a church congregation situation with the majority of people feeling the same thing, but everyone too afraid to speak up, or simply too lazy, and so, ok i’ll do it again (and then half of the majority of people suddenly don’t feel that way any more, most remain silent, while some even come out suddenly for the other side)

or else in a one-on-one situation (or a lot of the time one-on-two cos it is often couples who are needing a gentle correctional word in love) everyone is happily gossipping about the situation behind the person’s (or persons’) back and yet it will usually be me who steps in and takes a hit (cos let’s be honest, no-one likes being told they are wrong and so even when it goes well and ends up positively there is still pretty much always a sense of you’re-the-bad-guy feeling or belief)

i’ve pissed off church leaders and i’ve even lost (on a few odd occasions, and they turned out to be pretty odd occasions) friends on account of choosing to fight for good in someone else’s life instead of simply burying my head in the sand ostrich-style and letting them reach out and touch the hot plate on the stove…

[and let’s be honest, i have gotten it wrong on occasion, maybe many occasions, altho my intent was always 100% good, i have erred in the way or the tone or the amount of love conveyed/received and have hopefully learnt my lessons along the way]

it’s the d.n.a. of God that says He loves you so much even as you are (dirty, broken, bruised, sinful, needy, hurting, disfunctional, a lousy reflection of Him)

but it’s also the d.n.a. of God that says He loved you so much that he refuses to leave you as you are and so He always prods and encourages and directs and creates opportunity for and grows (and a lot of the time uses people to do that) you…

‘wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses’ – proverbs 27.6

so what does that all have to do with Koran burning? (surfed the net and found three different spellings and not sure which is more accepted cos they are all everywhere)

well, if you are living on some different planet, then you are unaware of a small cult [i use the word ‘cult’ where everyone else has been using the word ‘church’ because i don’t believe their actions resemble much that is churchlike in terms of how i understand the community of Jesus followers to be] called the dove world outreach center, located in gainesville, florida, who have vowed to burn a whole bunch of Korans to mark saturday’s anniversary of the 11 september attacks as they remember the almost 3000 people killed by al-quaeda hijackers (of which a whole bunch were muslim people working in the twin towers, just by the way)

and i bet you there are people in crazy man terry jones’ ‘church’ who know that what he is planning is wrong… i’ll bet you there are friends or family members of terry jones who think what he is planning is absurd and against the “love your enemies and bless those who persecute you” mantra of Jesus…

but is there confrontation? in love? is there a wound from a friend? or are there a bunch of scared or apathetic people willing to let a potentially tragedy-enducing situation carry on, because they refuse to be the one to stand up and be counted?

the crusades… apartheid… slavery and the ku klux klan… qur’an-burning…

“All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” [edmund burke]

speak the Truth in Love, absolutely…

…but the Truth MUST be spoken.

[post script: so in case i was too subtle, i am saying that i think this idea of burning korans is ridiculous, unloving, completely dangerous bordering on or more likely over insane and that this man calling himself a pastor, heading up what he calls a church is totally misguided and not acting in a Jesus-following way at all and should be stopped/rebuked/thrown in a padded room of some type]

[p.p.s i completely dont understand your confusion – i thort my stand was pretty direct – i even post-scripted my stand even more cos someone else felt i was being a bit waffly – i think its a dangerous ridiculous un-Jesuslike lack of love act which is going to hurt a lot of people and bring no-one any closer to God… yes?]

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