It is very tempting to ignore, run from, or roll over, but while this may seem loving, it is actually very cruel and very unhealthy. When the truth is ignored and “peace at all costs” becomes the practice, unholy long term conduct continues. This cancer will spread and affect the godly.
We will be coming to this topic when I preach 1 Cor 5 in a few weeks while going through the sermon series on 1 Corinthians. For now, however, you may ask, “how do you deal with a factious person?” Very simple rule: keep the spiritual battle in the Spirit. Speak the truth in love. Don’t insult the person directly, but focus on the spirit and the conduct that resulted. Call them to repent, and call them to change (as Paul instructed in this passage and others). Give them suggestions to get help, whether it is through the church, through counseling, or through a mentor. Most of all, be ready to receive the repentant, hoping for a change in heart and in action.
The idea is to restore the sinner, the goal is truth and love expressed, and the hope is the glory of God. It IS a positive thing, though it IS very difficult. May we live holy and call one another to be holy!
Sometimes, life is really tough. In fact, life is almost always very tough. Lately, it’s been a bit more difficult than most days, yet these are the best times to grow closer to God. On a personal basis, I have been dealing with a multitude of issues on many levels for me, for my loved ones, and within the local church. Yet, as I think a bit about these struggles, I can’t help but turn to see what is really important in life.
Don’t get me wrong- we really are blessed. I mean, we don’t know persecution in this country. In my home, we don’t have to struggle to find food, drink, or shelter. We don’t have any major life or death issues, and if we did, we know whose we are, right? So why is it that at times I have to fight for joy, to push through discouragement, to shut out the cutting comments of a miserable curmudgeon so that I can stay encouraged? Why do I feel physically and emotionally exhausted after a full day of ministry, feeling like I have been swimming upstream against a current of the sewage of sin? I do it because my Jesus doesn’t deserve anything but the best.
You see, it’s not really about what is important in life, but who. Christ followers running the race for Jesus will receive bumps and bruises on the journey- some may even have serious injuries. In a world of 7 billion people with many headed for the depths of Hell, I must count myself forever grateful for the grace God has given to me…and my response must be “to live is Christ.”
So as I continue to do, you must do too. Fight for joy when the chips seem down. Agree to remove the feelings of self preservation and ego, and humbly accept God’s calling on your life. Press forward in trust to the God who cares for you. Cast burdens at the foot of the cross as He strengthens you. Live for Christ, live for His glory, and lift up His Kingdom. As you do this, and as I do this, God gets all the glory, a glory that will endure forever.