CAREFUL WHO YOU RUN WITH
1 CORINTHIANS 5:9-11 NKJ
9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
Corinth was a well-known wild city. It could be likened to our Las Vegas today. What happens in Corinth . . .
Actually, what had been happening in Corinth was creeping into the church, and Paul was giving instructions as to how to handle this problem.
Don't hang out with sexually immoral people. But then Paul says something startling. It was the sexually immoral in the church they were to avoid, not the ones in the world. Paul also adds covetous, extortioners, idolaters, revilers (someone who speaks evil of others) and drunkards. Again, Paul is talking about church members, not people in the world.
Now to clarify. Paul was not advocating hanging out with people in the world who were doing all these things. Instead, Paul was telling us we can't hide from the world. And those without Christ are prone to doing these things. We still want to reach them, so we don't run from them, but neither do we do what they do.
In the church, among those who profess that Jesus is their Lord, this type of behavior should not be happening. So by staying away from those engaging in these behaviors, we send them a message. A message that says we can't hang out while you are doing these things, and you need to stop.
We still love them. We still pray for them, but we do not encourage or enable them. On the surface this sounds harsh, but we care about them enough to withdraw so they will wake up and stop.
But what about the worldly people doing these things? We'll leave them up to God to deal with, but our brothers and sisters in Christ are family, and we'll handle family business in the family.
This is a different slant on love. Loving a brother or sister in Christ enough to say we can't hang out while you are doing things you know are wrong. We are here to help if you ask. Here to pray and help you change, but I can't bless what I know to be wrong.
Father, I pray for those in the body of Christ who have gone off in the wrong direction. Help me be a good example and help them make the change.