Being and Becoming Christian
Years ago, in the midst of emotional pain and panic, I reached out (actually exploded) to a dear friend, but not a believer, who gave me a succinct, but horrid, worldly solution in such a matter of fact voice that it shocked me to hear the words. My next thought was a prayer of repentance to my Heavenly Father. “Oh, Lord, God of heaven and earth, You have shocked me with the direct opposite of Your thinking so that I would turn back to You, trust and obey You in this matter. You and only You will see me through this in Your way and in Your time. And God did.
But how many times do we quickly see the difference these days? Are we “frogs in the kettle”, becoming so used to the increasing acceptance of sin all around us, as evil keeps turning up the heat, that we are slowing dying in the pot? This is the reason to get close and stay close to what God says in His Word, living as He says for our best.
Paul is pretty clear about how we should solve every day offenses in the church and outside the church. Read on, he doesn’t soft pedal his words!
I Corinthians 6, The Message
1-4 And how dare you take each other to court! When you think you have been wronged, does it make any sense to go before a court that knows nothing of God’s ways instead of a family of Christians? The day is coming when the world is going to stand before a jury made up of followers of Jesus. If someday you are going to rule on the world’s fate, wouldn’t it be a good idea to practice on some of these smaller cases? Why, we’re even going to judge angels! So why not these everyday affairs? As these disagreements and wrongs surface, why would you ever entrust them to the judgment of people you don’t trust in any other way?
5-6 I say this as bluntly as I can to wake you up to the stupidity of what you’re doing. Is it possible that there isn’t one levelheaded person among you who can make fair decisions when disagreements and disputes come up? I don’t believe it. And here you are taking each other to court before people who don’t even believe in God! How can they render justice if they don’t believe in the God of justice?
7-8 These court cases are an ugly blot on your community. Wouldn’t it be far better to just take it, to let yourselves be wronged and forget it? All you’re doing is providing fuel for more wrong, more injustice, bringing more hurt to the people of your own spiritual family.
9-11 Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.
12 Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims.
Bottom line: Don’t take each other, as believers, to court and have outsiders decide your fate. Solve it among yourselves as a greater witness to the world who do not know Christ.
As my dad used to say, “you can be right and still be wrong.” He meant that sometimes living with the offense is a greater witness to fighting the offense. Let it go, make peace and move on. What difference will it make in a few months or years? Probably nothing. But how we handle it in the very beginning will speak volumes for eternity.
Dear Heavenly Father, Paul is pretty clear on how to live this Christian life “in the most excellent way”. Help us to see offenses as opportunities to declare Your glory in our handling of them. Jesus, You set the example. You have surely convinced Paul! Continue to transform us, but do it gently. In Jesus Name and by His power we pray, Amen