Sunday’s post talked about the need for theological diversity in our churches. While we need to embrace those who hold different understandings of Jesus, we perhaps need to adopt a separate view of the behaviors of people who live contrary to God’s word. Or maybe not.
Paul touches on this in his second letter to the church in Thessalonica. He tells them to stay away from those who do not follow his instructions. He specifically refers to this particular letter. However, by extension, we could assume he means all the commands in the Bible. But this might be dangerous, for we read the Bible through the lens of our experiences and not with the comprehension of the original audience or their situation. It’s too easy to see what we want to see when we read the Bible and miss what God actually wants to communicate.
Even more worrisome is to imply that these verses offer a principal that we are to avoid those who don’t follow the words of their church leaders or spiritual guides. But this becomes even more problematic. People are fallible, and many religious leaders have led their flocks astray by demanding compliance to some misguided belief. Don’t drink their Kool-Aid.
We need to proceed with the utmost care before we criticize the actions of fellow believers. After all, we could be the ones in error.
If we do feel we must move in this direction, we should advance with great caution and follow Paul’s teaching in this matter: We are to not view these folks as an enemy but as a brother who needs a gentle warning.Christians who don’t behave as we think they should aren't the enemy. Click To Tweet
I say it again, if other Christians don’t behave like we think they should, they are not the enemy. If we say anything, we need to warn them in love and not with self-righteous indignation.
Have you ever received one of these “warnings?” Is it better to keep quiet about the disturbing behavior of others?
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