THE BODY. part 3
Today I want to write about the cleansing of the body and how it can be healed. I also want to give some advice to members that are in conflict. The Body of Christ consists of human beings and none of us will be perfect in our soul and body here on earth, only in our spirit. Our spirits form our unity.
Paul writes in 1. Corinthians 5:6 that just a little leaven leavens the whole lump. That is why it is so important to get rid of the leaven. Paul mentions sin and evil as leaven. We might think of all the local churches around the world that together represent the Body of Christ. We are quite often reading about scandals in different churches. It seems to be most interesting when church leaders fall, at least for media. How much sin should we tolerate and when should we talk to the person or report things to higher leaders? Paul is saying that just a little leaven leavens everything. I think that means that we should not tolerate any sin at all. The thing is that none of us are without sins in our soul and body. Another point is that many things can be misunderstood. It is therefore important that we talk to the person in question before we are spreading gossip. What is sin? We are often saying that things are sinful about laws made by men. It could be a question about using slacks or skirt, jewels or not for example. The Bible says that we should follow the Ten Commandments. We know that we sin if we are envious or want the wife of another man. We know that lying and cheating are sins. How did Jesus react to sin? He became very angry, almost violent at one time. That was when the temple was made into a den of thieves and not to a house of prayers. ( Matthew 21:12-14) At other times He showed a lot of grace. We can think of the woman at the well, having five men or the woman caught in adultery. He did not condemn her, but He said: “Do not sin no more!” I think that this is a secret. We should not deny sin or tolerate things that the Bible call sinful, but we should forgive and show mercy when people want to deal with their sins. When people get born again, we should not expect them to change everything in one day, but we should be clear and call sin a sin if the Bible says so. We need a lot of love and wisdom here.
Jesus called the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees for leaven and
warned the disciples. That tells me that both the teaching and the behavior are important in a congregation. The behavior of people can often be followed by the teaching. If love and faith are taught often, people might have faith and show love. I have lately discovered that I have brought with me different leaven from different congregations. When one is in it, it might be more difficult to see clearly, especially if the leaven comes from the leaders. I always ask today: “Where can I find that in the Bible?”
The Bible is saying that there might be a lot of deceiving spirits during the last days and that is really true.
Jesus says to Simon Peter that he should feed the sheep if he loved Jesus. If we love Jesus, we give clean and pure food to the sheep and not poisonous food. If we do, we might love ourselves more than Jesus. Maybe one wants to be liked or have other wrong motives.
LEAVEN MUST OUT OF THE BODY!
What does one do when the “fingers” start to quarrel with other parts of the body? That happened already at the time of Paul and Peter. They had a conflict and different callings. Paul is writing a lot about the different leaven in the congregations. In 1.Peter 4:8 it is written that we should have fervent love for each other. It continues to say that love covers a lot of sins. I do not think that we should be blind to sins, but that we should have a lot of grace and live in forgiveness. When the different members start arguing, there is a need for clear communication. It might be necessary to ask help from a third part. Let each part communicate what they think and then allow them to repeat what the other part has said. We might hear what we want to hear and we call it “selective hearing”. Many conflicts are built on misunderstanding. These need to be dissolved. If one has sinned, it is important to ask for forgiveness and the other part must forgive. This might be done many times over a period of time till you are healed. Different callings can create misunderstanding. The evangelist and the teacher might not always understand each other or the evangelist and the prophet. The church might not give the employees clear description of their work and the employee might have another understanding of his or her work than the board or the pastor. That could lead to criticism and misunderstanding. When a new pastor is coming, is his or her teaching the same as the members of the church? When you function in one of the fivefold ministries, did God call you or did you do this by yourself?
We have all a tendency to defend ourselves. That will often lead to accusations towards the other part. The accusations might be real or false. That might lead the other part to defend him-or herself and the war has started. I understand that it is painful to be wounded, but I am so thankful that I know One who can heal wounded hearts. In Romans 12 Paul says that the vengeance belongs to the Lord and He is righteous. I believe that it is very important to turn one’s attention to the Lord and seek Him. What plans does He has for me, my family and the church. Ephesians 6 says that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against demonic powers.
There are times when people might go separate ways, but not without forgiving each other. The love for Jesus and His love for us might make reconciliation and we might function better together than ever before. The key lies in humiliation and willingness to lay down one’s own flesh.
HUMBLE YOURSELF UNDER THE MIGHTY HAND OF GOD, THAT HE MAY EXHALT YOU IN DUE TIME! (1.Pet.5:6)