1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
So, I understand the couple of verses before this – where Paul is basically saying that non-Christians are going to behave as such. And that those of us living a life following after Christ should not expect anything more. That to remove yourself from the company of such people is not right. That it basically defeats the entire purpose of reaching the unsaved in the world. Ok. Got it.
Verse eleven has me totally confused however. After reading this passage, I’ve decided that it is at least partly to blame for some treatment I’ve received from Christian “brothers and sisters”. As much as I don’t believe I’m any of these things, certain people think I belong amongst this list. So, what am I supposed to do? Huh? How am I to respond when I’m treated like there is justification for dissociations just like this verse describes? “Don’t associate with these people. Don’t even eat with them.”
Another translation uses the terms “sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner” – in either case, what troubles me is this. How do I manage a relationship where I’ve been unjustly labeled as a part of this grouping? What recourse do I have? I cannot force others to see me as I actually am. When their prism has been so skewed that everything I do is wrong and bad, how can I fix that?
I love people. I love for other people to love me. I hate lies. So the fact that I’m currently in a situation where others believe things about me that are patently untrue, and don’t like me because of it absolutely breaks my heart. To have separation and division over things that are not real, are not how things actually are. Is. Not. Fair. And I hate it.
I know my tone here is not my normal devotional post. Recently, I feel like God has been granting me wonderful pieces of wisdom and understanding during my times with Him. I’ve felt encouraged and amazed during my quiet times with the Lord. But I would be pretending to be something I’m not if I didn’t say flat-out – today, I’m mad. I’m angry that this verse exists. I can look at the context and see that Paul was specifically talking about a situation within the church where a dude was hooking up with his dad’s wife – and nobody was dealing with that. I can see this passage within the bigger picture of what was happening within the Corinthian church. There were serious sexual sins, character assassination and violent theft happening. That these behaviors were what Paul was trying to address. But none of that matters to me right now. Because right now, as I type this, after pondering this passage all day long — all I can think about is the clarity I suddenly feel about how I’m being viewed. How I’m being judged. Why I’m being treated like a plague. And I’m just mad. Injustice is a hard pill to swallow. Especially when it’s being rammed down your throat, supposedly backed up by scripture.
I guess this is the part where I have to trust that God will be my shield. (Psalm 18:30) When life seems unfair and I cannot do anything about it, I just need to trust that God has my back — well, since He’s a shield, I guess that would be my front. As angry as I am right now, I still want to live my life for Jesus. Knowing I’m good with Him needs to be enough for me. Everyone doesn’t need to like me. Even if some people think I’m disgusting, not worthy to share a meal with – I’m loved by my savior. And, I’m blessed. My husband could see how upset I was by this devotional today – he sent me this verse from Matthew 5 which hit like a soothing balm on my hurting heart.
Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Ok God, I guess I’m blessed. I’ll just hold on to that until it stops hurting.