Scripture: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Observation: Paul begins by confronting the sin of a fellow believer, warning of the dangers of sin and asking them to remove him from the church. In the final verses, he warns of avoiding judgment on those who don’t believe and addressing the sin of those who do.
Application: Ridiculously embarrassing things I’ve done in my life that I’m begging you not to judge me for:
- Wearing red pleather pants in middle school and thinking I looked super cool
- Memorizing the entire handshake from the Parent Trap and then making everyone I knew do it with me
- Calling someone the wrong name for THREE MONTHS before someone finally corrected me
- Saying “sex” instead of “cents” on stage in front of 300 people
- Accidentally feeding my husband hot chocolate full of ants (Full disclaimer: I made him hot chocolate a few months ago and he asked me what was floating on top…I told him it was just floating flakes of cocoa. NOPE. A few hours later, I discovered that ants had crawled all over my cocoa container, and I didn’t realize it. He thought I was trying to poison him.)
- Yelling “dance party” at 2 p.m. and jumping up on top of my desk while blasting some crazy rap song (P.S. This happened last week)
And these are only the things I’m brave enough to admit on the internet. PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME. Most days, my entire life is a joke. It’s amazing that someone decided I was mature enough to be a mom in a few short months. Who allows these things to happen?!
Truthfully, these are just a few embarrassing things I’ve done; I have many more things that are far, far more embarrassing. In fact, they’re more than just turn-my-face-red-embarrassing; they’re downright shameful. I’ve had sin in my life that goes far beyond making bad clothing choices or showcasing my sub-part dance moves. I’ve had sin in my life that’s difficult and dirty and seems to plague me everywhere I turn. I don’t want to admit to that kind of sin, much less be judged for it – which makes Paul’s words in this passage pretty darn challenging.
The word “judgment” is pretty tough to deal with. In our culture, judgment somehow became synonymous with “close-minded” and carries a hefty negative connotation. Some of it comes from decades of Jesus followers harshly judging those who don’t yet believe in Jesus (something Paul warns against specifically in verse 10). Some of it comes from our own fleshy, human nature and an innate desire to sin. Some of it comes from us wanting to be people pleasers and some of it comes from not truly understanding how and why God judges sin.
Let’s push that all aside and just look at Paul’s words:
“I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheat people. Don’t even eat with such people. It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.” (verses 11-12)
We have a responsibility to judge other believers. (But, please, for the sake of peace, don’t tweet that phrase because it requires a little more explanation.)
We do. We have a responsibility to hold others accountable for the ways they’re falling short and missing the mark. They have a responsibility to do the same for us. So often we equate judgment with power, but judgment shouldn’t come from a position of power but rather a heart of humility.
We’ve got to hold each other accountable in a real, life-giving way. We have to let our discipline flow from a place of genuine compassion, a desire to see others grow in their relationship with God and with others. We have to have the courage to call them out, wade into hard conversations, and address sin.
Here’s the thing: usually, it’s a lot easier to stay quiet. And for my fellow recovering people pleasers out there, keeping the peace seems a lot more appealing than rocking the boat. But, we can’t stay quiet. We have an obligation to build up the church by constantly sharpening the people in it. Responsibility isn’t a choice but a command.
Let’s keep our hearts pure. Let’s invite others to speak into our lives as we speak into theirs. And let’s do it all so we can sharpen each other, glorifying God more and more everyday of our lives.
Prayer: God, I pray first that you’ll help me see the sin in my own life. I pray you’ll help me weed it out, and I ask you allow me to be open and accountable to others who try to help me in my sin. I pray you’ll give me the courage to lovingly, life-givingly, humbly call out the sin of others. Amen.