“Be My Mirror!”(I Cor.5:9-13a).
We were in a vestry dressing for a Church Service. I asked a colleague to check if my preaching band was well fitted. He pointed me to a mirror. I told him I had seen the mirror, but since we were together I thought he was a better mirror to me than the mirror.
“I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.”
The spread of the gospel has always been characterized with “unintended consequences.” Sometimes it works positively for the church, but sometimes negatively.
The few verses of scriptures above opens our eyes to how we read more meaning from a script than what the author meant. This is common to literary critics. They are authors in their own rights but their material is only in so far as there is an existing script.
The text above is proof that Paul’s supposed first letter to the Corinthians is actually not the first. What became of the first? Why was the first not popularized? Is it because more meaning was read into the letter than what Paul meant? The Corinthians were blessed that Paul was still alive and so he could write another letter to explain to them what they had misunderstood in the other letter.
What happens to us today when we read more meaning than it was intended by the biblical authors? None of them is here to correct us as Paul did in the Corinthian context.
Caveat: Avoid ambiguity if you want to be understood well. Because a book does not belong to the author alone. It belongs to the readers as well.
Back to our meditation: In the unavailable letter Paul had written that the Corinthian Christians should not associate with sexually immoral people. The Corinthians understood this to mean staying away from nonChristians who were sexually immoral. In the text Paul says he wasn’t referring to the people of the world.
We have no business to judge those who are outside. God will judge them.
We who are inside are the ones who need correcting. And this is the problem! More often than not we hear slangs like, “Christians are used to criticizing, judging and condemning each other.” It can’t be otherwise – if we must truly be one another’s keeper.
However, we run the name of Christ in mud if we continue to associate with those who are in Christ and yet dishonours the name of Christ by living like the people of the world. This does not only refer to the sexually immoral, but the greedy, the idolater, the slanderer, the drunkard and the swindler as well.
Once we are in Christ Jesus and have become new creations, we should be different and be the difference that makes us unique in the world. That is what it means for us to be in the world but not belonging to the world.
The church, the body of Christ has the duty to excercise spiritual discipline over professing believers in the church, and not those outside their jurisdiction. The governing authorities are there to take care of them.
Bottom line, we should each make the effort to live lives that please God.
Prayer: Holy Spirit guide my steps away from presumptuous sins. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.
“Arm Yourself With The Same Attitude Of Suffering In The Body…!”(I Pt.4:1-6).The emphasis of “Joy to the world…” at Christmas more often than not multiply