When were you last angry with someone? Have you sorted it out?
Paul wrote several letters to the church in Corinth, and we have only 2 of them in the Bible – the others are lost. But he refers to one of the lost ones in these chapters. He explains that he wrote out of distress and anguish, to let them know about his love for them. He had written to correct wrongdoing in the church, just as he did in that first letter we read together.
Any parent can tell you that they love their child to the moon and back (hopefully, anyway.) But loving someone doesn’t mean you never tell them off. Imagine your child who you dearly love started poking at electric sockets with scissors (DO NOT try this at home…) or playing with matches (or this). You would want to stop them pretty quick. You would probably be nice and kind the first time, and possibly the second. But when they kept on doing it, you would just want to get the message across. You might shout. You might be angry, and you might punish them, so that they would remember.
As Christians, we’re supposed to encourage one another as we try to follow Jesus. Sometimes, one of us might do something that is really unhelpful for that. Someone might choose to do something that is actively harmful to themselves or to someone else. We can’t just sit back, just as Paul couldn’t just sit back.
But in those moments of truth, when we say: “Actually, you need to stop doing x”, we’re not saying that we’re better than anyone else, or that we’re closer to Jesus, or that we’ve never made any mistakes ourselves. What we’re doing and saying is out of love. It shouldn’t drive a wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ.
Lord God, thank you for the people who have helped us to follow you, and have helped us stay on the right path. Help us respond with grace and kindness and love to others. Amen.
Who can you mentor and help to follow Jesus today?