Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
Read a previous post from this passage – “Baby Christians”
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” – (1 Corinthians 4:14-16)
First Corinthians is a pretty strong letter; it contains a lot of bold criticism for the Church at Corinth. However, it is important to remember that the Apostle Paul was not writing to these people simply to set them straight. He loved these people very dearly, and wanted to see them get back on track. Paul gives the analogy of a father’s love for his children in order to describe his love for this struggling church. Paul had started this church. He served these people, and lived among them for eighteen months on his second missionary journey. He cared deeply for these Christian brothers and sisters, which gave him the right to “rebuke them sharply”.
There has always been this debate in our society about tough love. Many would say that if you are too strong in your discipline that you will drive your children away into rebellion. However, I disagree with that line of thinking. I believe that you can be strong with those who know that you genuinely care for them. If you truly love people, they will let you be straight with them. My pastor in Texas used to say that you have to build up a bank account of love with your people before you can have the right to get tough with them. They need to know that you genuinely care for them. When I worked in the supermarket in Texas, I had a store manager who was brutally honest with his employees. He was occasionally very tough, but at the same time we knew that he genuinely cared for us; he loved us. As a result there was nothing that we wouldn’t do for him. He earned our love and respect.
The Apostle Paul could say what he said to these Corinthians because they knew that He loved them. The preachers, Sunday School teachers, and leaders in our churches need to demonstrate that kind of love for the people they serve, and this will, in time, give them the right to get tough when it becomes necessary. People will simply not give an ear to someone who doesn’t truly care.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Corinthians by Phil Erickson with no comments yet.