When did we start thinking it was okay to get so aggressive about our opinions and judgements?
“I don’t even trust my own judgment on this point. My conscience is clear, but that doesn’t prove I’m right. It is the Lord himself who will examine me and decide.” 4:3-4
Even Paul, who often comes toe to toe with arrogance, is willing to stay modest here. The most godly and wise people in my life also happen to be the most humble. My husband and I regularly reach out to our friend Alan. He’s a great sounding board for big decisions or problems, and has come alongside us many times over the years as we grappled with church, marriage and various career decisions. Sage advice rolls off his tongue so easily, and always well-balanced with truth and grace. He often tosses up his hands casually, maybe shrugs his shoulders. He rarely insists that his answer is the answer and always, always, always points us back to Jesus and the gospel.
Paul is coming down hard on the church of Corinth in these early chapters to stop with the church politics and popularity contests. And I gotta say, we are still needing that scolding in today’s church culture.
“So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. For everything belongs to you-whether Paul or Apollos or Peter, or or the world, or life and death, or the present and the future. Everything belongs to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.” 3:21-23
Being pinned against other believers based on what church you’re going to or who your pastor happens to be at the moment is divisive. I have learned the hard way that if your leader is tearing down another godly leader, run, run, run the other way. This is a quick way to sniff out pride if you’re sizing someone up before connecting with them in ministry.
How do they speak about other churches? Their church?
How do the speak about other leaders? Their leaders?
If the answer to these questions isn’t “with lots of grace, honor and love”, it’s a giant, pride-soaked red flag.
Where’s your heart in all this? How do you approach conversations within or about the church? (Yes, bickering on Facebook posts count too.)