1 Corinthians 5:9-13
9 I wrote a letter to you to tell you to stay away from people who commit sexual sins. 10 I didn’t mean the people of this world who sin that way or who always want more and more. I didn’t mean those who cheat or who worship statues of gods. In that case you would have to leave this world! 11 But here is what I am writing to you. You must stay away from anyone who claims to be a believer but who does those things. Stay away from anyone who commits sexual sins or who always wants more and more things. Stay away from a person who worships statues of gods or who tells lies about others. Stay away from anyone who gets drunk or who cheats. Don’t even eat with a person like that. 12 Is it my business to judge those outside the church? Aren’t you supposed to judge those inside the church? 13 God will judge those outside. Scripture says, “Get rid of that evil person!” (Deuteronomy 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7)
Paul gives us some useful principles for living in this passage. There are lots of people who don’t do all the things that God would like us to (actually that is all of us). Some of those people don’t claim to have God in their lives and we should leave it up to God to judge their behaviours AND we should be talking to them, spending time with them, loving them – ie we should not separate ourselves from them. For those that do claim to have God in their lives we should not pretend that everything is ok when its not AND we should expect others to do the same for us. In other places in the Bible God gives us guidance about how to tackle such situations with love. Tough love may be needed in some circumstances but in most situations its just love that we need. To speak peace and grace into people’s lives while not pretending that they are making wise choices. And also to listen with grace and peace when people come to us to raise issues of our behaviour.
God wants us to choose to live life well but He gives us choice. Sometimes we seek out wise friends to help us make good choices. Often when we know it’s not the right thing to do we don’t ask God or our friends. God sometimes sends someone to have that conversation with us anyway. Be someone that God can trust to send into such situations by learning about God’s view of the situation and His feelings about the person and recognizing it might happen to you sometime.
Thank you Lord that You made clear how we should treat people who are not yet part of Your family and how we should look after each other inside Your family. Teach us about wisdom and grace for ourselves and for others.
Written by Therese Manning