Paul addresses dissention among this body of believers. They have been pursuing lawsuits against one another. To top that off, they have been airing those grievances in the world.
I don’t know if you have noticed how sue happy this world is getting. Each of the warning labels on all the products we purchase represents a previous lawsuit. From “do not attempt to stop chain with genitals” to “caution, coffee is hot” someone did something to injure themselves and sought remedy through a lawsuit. Don’t get me wrong, there are some valid suits and solid reasons to pursue remedy but we are becoming a nation of “blame it on the other guy” and get rich from it. This shouldn’t be.
The Corinthian church was apparently becoming sue happy too. I don’t know the kinds of disputes they were taking to court but the Holy Spirit was not happy with their behavior. He directed Paul’s pen in addressing it.
Paul didn’t start right out by saying that they shouldn’t be bringing suits against each other. Instead he started with the lesser issue of taking it outside the church. As Christians, the expectation is that one is living a life of loving one another. But bringing lawsuits against one another is NOT a loving act. Bringing it outside the body of believers is demonstrating to the world that we are not practicing love. They were behaving no better than non-believers. Their witness was compromised.
Because we are also human and will have issues arise between one another, as believers, we need to handle those matters “in house.” When our disagreement is between two believers we are to bring it before a respected brother. Ask for Godly counsel. This honors our brother, our leadership and our Father.
Paul takes it a step further now. IF you are a follower of Christ where is your forgiveness? IF you are a follower of Christ why do you sin against one another?
Paul wasn’t simply talking to the one who was wronged here; the one who was seeking remedy. He was also speaking to the one who created the offense in the first place. Paul already established that there will be those who sin that call themselves believers. We are to use righteous judgement with those individuals.
I have a question. In our reading yesterday we learned that we are to judge rightly other believers. We are not to judge the world until the end though. So, I’m wondering if “turning the other cheek” applies to those outside the body too. I know we are to forgive one another, inside and outside the body. But are we to let our brother “smite” us over and over again? Would this be a time when it was appropriate to bring it to the leadership to judge? Would this be a time to disassociate with this other believer?
Paul tells us that those who practice habitual (unrepentant) sin don’t inherit the Kingdom of God. He lists several for us but is that the totality of the list? Is a person who practices such sin a believer in the first place? Who is supposed to judge in this instance? Only God can know the heart but we are tasked with judging the action of other believers.
Father God, I feel so unworthy to judge the actions of others. There are some that are MUCH easier for me to do so with though. Those are the ones who I see practicing habitual unrepentant sin. But I still feel guilty for doing so. I don’t know how to balance this, especially when they are family members.
As for lawsuits, I try my best to avoid those types of situations. I didn’t used to be as quick to try and find a peaceful resolution. YOU made that change in me. You made me into a peacemaker of sorts. I still stand up to injustice but I see both sides more clearly now. Help me be Your instrument of peace in my family too. Show me when to turn the other cheek and when to cut ties. And give me Your peace in which ever one You lead me to do.