Carol Brennan King Aug. 31, 2020
Have you ever felt a stone in your shoe, but so many other things distracted you, that you walked a mile, that foot hurting you all the while.
That’s how I have felt for sometime, like I am walking with a stone in my shoe, only it is getting sharper as I walk along, and I just cannot forget it anymore.
The stone is the way we talk to one another or write in public forums to one another. Last night I read I Corinthians 10, and this time I think God was speaking straight to me. And yes I know, to anyone else who might have been reading those verses.
Here it is, I Cor. 10:31-33. Paul is speaking to believers who lived in Corinth and gathered there as a group of believers. (Oh, and this is one of the books Paul wrote to the churches he had either helped to start or visited. The people passed their letters or books around, so those believers in other gathering places could also have the benefit of his teaching. I am speaking here of the New Testament books of Romans, I and II Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I and II Timothy, Titus and Philemon. So after a fashion, as we read these letters we are reading someone else’s mail, preserved for us.)
Back to I Corinthians 10: 31-33: 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
I know this is 500-year-old English, but do you get the point? Paul and God (who preserved this manuscript for us) want us to do everything that we do when we eat, drink or just live, in a way that brings glory to God. We are to be careful not to offend others (who might believe differently that we do); that’s who the Jews and Gentiles were to the believers Paul was writing to, those people then known as people of the Way. Those early Church believers, and we believers today, are to communicate our faith not to be praised by anyone or to feel good about doing what we feel is our duty. Instead, we are to live it out, and when opportunity arises, speak to others who might not know the way to faith and hope, in a way that they would want to know more about our faith and hope in Christ and might join us in that faith.
A simple way to sum this up is that, as you all know, we are to do all we do in love, like Christ did first, and like Paul tried to do. Think about how you respond to someone who behaves toward you in kindness and love. Then think about how you respond to those who attack you or other people in your life. Which one would you be more likely to listen to, to believe?
I don’t think our job as believers is to change anyone’s politics. Rather I think God wants us to model the truth that will change lives, that did change my life or yours. That will do away with any hurtful language.
And I think, just me here, any talk about politics, any political party, or person running for any office ought not be heard in church, in obedience to this passage in I Corinthians 10.
Why offend someone even before they have an opportunity to meet our loving God? His love is sufficient to do any changing that needs to be done, if such change is in order. It is not our job. Going back to the charge we live with, “Give no offence to anyone.”