Tag Archives: Tough love

Troublemakers

negative energy

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice,  have nothing more to do with him.  Titus 3:10

There are verses here and there that tell us what God thinks about people who stir up drama and division.  Here are a few of them:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid.  For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  Romans 16:17

There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to Him; haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.  Proverbs 16:19

Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.  Proverbs 10:12

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.  Hebrews 12:14-15

Are you starting to get the picture?  Being divisive is driven by bitterness and hatred and it needs to be kept in check.  Otherwise, it is like a cancer that spreads and takes others down.  It must be dealt with.  Paul tells how to handle someone who is a spreader of drama and contention: warn them twice and then, if it continues, have nothing to do with that person.

Actually, Paul tells about a few different types that we are to have nothing to do with.  In 2 Timothy 3:5 he wrote to avoid people that hold to the form of godliness but deny its power.  In Ephesians 5:3-7 Paul lists a bunch of things, including foolish talk and crude joking, along with greed and sexual immorality, that if believers exhibit them to stay away from.

Peace and purity in the body of Christ are big deals.  It might seem radical to have nothing to do with people that spread strife, and some might call it unloving.  But creating and maintaining an atmosphere of peace honors God and promotes spiritual growth.  

Think about your own handling of something that doesn’t go your way, or of trying to work together in a group.  Are you the one who resorts to ‘taking your ball and going home?’  Do you back stab, manipulate or undermine decisions?   Do you have unresolved bitterness that you need to take care of so you can sow peace and not drama?  Do you have a “friend” who is constantly stirring up trouble that you need to have a critical conversation with?

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.”  Colossians 3:15

 


Good Grief

weep

For Godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.  2 Corinthians 7:10

This verse is in the context of Paul writing a letter and sending it in between 1 and 2 Corinthians.  It was a rebuke about them not properly dealing with a man who had slept with his stepmother, as referenced in 1 Corinthians 5.  That man, or perhaps a different one, began to question Paul’s authority as an apostle, stirring up doubt about his motives and saying that Paul didn’t keep his promise about coming to them sooner.

Paul acknowledged that his letter produced grief, but he was okay with that because it led them to repentance.  He wrote that there is a productive sorrow that we need to have in order to deal with our sin and wrong attitudes and to turn us in a different direction.  That is Godly grief.  But there is a worldly grief that we get caught up in at times, and its outcome only leads to death.  It doesn’t produce repentance or reconciliation.  It might produce revenge, blame shifting and ugly rifts.

We get mixed up sometimes about sin and about the stand that God tells us that we need to take.  For instance, in 1 Corinthians 5:11 Paul wrote for them “not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother (fellow believer) if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not to even eat with such a one.”  It is echoed in other places, such as Ephesians 5.

That’s a hard line on sin, but the goal is to produce repentance so that the person’s spirit who is practicing sin may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:5).  It is more loving to practice 1 Cor. 5:11 and to let God do His convicting and purifying work in that person’s life to bring about repentance, then it is to let that person continue in sin, reaping sin’s consequences and destruction.  You could call it tough love.

A friend once told me about a Christian friend who was engaged in sexual immorality.  The other believers practiced what Paul had directed, which was to have nothing to do with her until she repented.  But my friend told me how she kept being her friend because otherwise she wouldn’t have anyone left.  I countered, “So you feel like you can do a better job than God?”  She was shocked at my response, but I then explained how the others’ exclusion was to bring about repentance.

For those of you practicing sin that you ought not to be doing: stop it.  You may experience the pleasures of sin for a season, but the outcome is a death of some sort.  It puts a breach in your relationship with God.  You’re no good to either side–either the one that runs after God or the world’s side.  You will be filled with the guilt that comes from the conviction of sin that won’t stop until you make things right.  The worldly sorrow of being rebuked includes shifting blame, denying that there is a sin issue, or boo hoo’ing to everyone about how mistreated you are.

weep over sin.jpgJames 4:8-10 tells us to “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you.”

Be wretched and weep over your sin.  Don’t trifle with it or explain it away.  Experience the Godly grief that leads to life.

*First photo from liesyoungwomenbelieve.com                                                                                                Second photo from mulpix.com