Thought for the Day: Paul placed a lot of responsibility on the community. There is a tendency to suggest it isn’t our place or it’s not polite to involve ourselves in other people’s business. Of course, there are plenty of people who enjoy getting the good gossip by involving themselves where they should not. But in those cases, there is an unhealthy temptation to spread rumors and create scandal. Paul wanted his community to deal with unhealthiness in a way that was healthy, truly believing that individuals could be restored. Society only seeks to punish as a response to transgression, and Christianity has fallen into that trap often in its own history. Paul, on the other hand, invited his readers to be gentle which would assume a commitment to a lengthy process. Punishment might curb a specific behavior for a while, but it doesn’t change the person in any sort of real and abiding way. I’ve always believed it was and is the church’s calling to walk alongside people, not simply telling them how wrong they are, but gently moving them toward restoration. In my own life, I am thankful for all those who, with a gentleness based in love, were willing to give me the needed time and support that moved me toward confession, repentance and healing…a work that is still happening.
Prayer: I do not seek quick changes, but true transformation. Holy God, help us to be community as there is work that can only happen in community. Let the commitment we have to you be the commitment we have to one another – a true willingness to do the necessary and challenging work. Amen.
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