Surgical Spirit: The Hundred Acre Wood

"The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ." (1 Corinthians 12:12)

As medical students we studied the brain. Not just anatomy, physiology and neurology but mental illness and cognitive decline and psychology. We all found the science of personality fascinating and, like the narcissists we were, enjoyed completing and analysing a test entitled: ‘What personality type are you?’

Some Christians run a mile from any kind of scrutiny, justifiably cautious about unbiblical theories espoused by unbelieving ‘experts’. Others quite rightly reject a deterministic view of temperament since if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). But many believers, especially if they struggle with poor mental health, find it helpful to understand themselves and to guard against particular failings. They learn that a positive trait (e.g., regard for others) may also have a negative side (undue reliance on peer approval).

My own index of personality types is based on teh characters in A. A. Milne’s Hundred Acre Wood. See if you can spot yourself:

Tigger: talkative and fun (sometimes too bouncy)

Rabbit: hard-working, a born leader and organiser (can be impatient)

Pooh: honest, calm, peaceable (but given to ease)

Eeyore: conscientious, appreciative (can be despondent and irritable)

Piglet: loyal, caring, gentle and shy (tends to fret about the opinion of others)

Kanga: motherly, kind (can be fussy)

So is the Hundred Acre Wood an unhappy place? Quite the opposite! The various characters accept their differences, make allowances and overlook failings. Just so in the church:

"God has combined the members of the body... so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other." (1 Cor. 12:24-25). Where believers celebrate each other's attributes and forgive their flaws, then love, joy, hope and peace will prosper.

Reflection

Let us give thanks to God for ALL our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Let us examine ourselves lest our positive personality traits be undermined by besetting sins.

Ruth Eardley is a GP and member of Affinity partner Little Hill Church, Leicester. She writes a regular piece for her church entitled 'Surgical Spirit'. We have been given permission to reproduce some of them. This is her latest contribution.

 


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