After reading 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 this morning, I began thinking about the relationships that I have in church. Some are very dear. I love these people. I try to pray for as many of the members of our congregation as I can, but it is better when the Elders split up the congregation for prayer. At least it is easier.
I think of those who I don't really know very well. I think of those who seem to have somewhat against me. (this is not paranoia. These are things that have been brought to me by the Elders) I think of our biblical responsibility as Elders to exercise church discipline. This is not simply punitive in nature. Part of being a healthy functioning church is that there are no divisions, i.e. that there are no members who won't have anything to do with other members. In fact, love requires this. Now, I certainly don't have the time or the energy to go chasing around members who have been offended by me. (it seems that is all to common in my years of ministry. I think I have large feet.) But certainly, it would behoove us to bring our differences to our brother and be fully reconciled. I have been extended love beyond measure in this congregation. I have never seen it like this. Yet, there are always those who are tender and are the walking wounded. My prayer is that there would be a boldness in these tender ones to approach me in order that we may reconcile and share our love in Christ. If our relationships are only on the surface, then our worship can go no deeper. For that matter, the bible insists that we do not worship our Lord, if we are at odds with any brother at all. First, leave your gift at the altar. Be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.