It is tough when a patron in the church becomes the burden of sin in the church too. I have seen it twice in my lifetime and both times the model that Paul provides was not followed. Still today, people in the church love the sinner and their resources and turn a blind eye to the sin continuing to take place in the individual’s life. I am interested in reviewing Paul’s thought patten.
I’m not writing all this as a neighborhood scold to shame you. I’m writing as a father to you, my children. I love you and want you to grow up well, not spoiled. – 1 Corinthians 4:14 MSG
The church should be shamed and so with some sarcasm, he tries entering the back door and suggests that dispensing shame is not his prime purpose but rather, as a father, he is there to warn them of a significant spiritual danger – pride.
There is a cure for pride. Shame means to turn back or around, in a state of turning, as turning one’s attention in a riveted way. Wholesome shame leads a person to consider their condition. When I am shamed or made to feel ashamed, I am being scolded. Sometimes it is necessary to shame someone for redemptive purposes, by that, turn them back to their senses – a positive shame.
There are three sections where Paul addresses issues in connection with patronal abuse in our reading today – that of the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5, the abuse of the law courts in 6:1-10, and immoral banquets in 6:11-20. Since my personal experience allows me to appreciate chapter 5, let’s see if I can add some more flavour there.
God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house. – 1 Corinthians 5:13 MSG
I was an elder in a church and was asked to write a piece for a policy that would deal with antagonists in the church. At the end of the day, cleaning house, was a solution. Shame is a central theme.
Paul is trying to motivate the believing community to function as a court of reputations to impose sanctions of shaming as well as conferring on each other the honour with which God has gifted them.
Paul is faced with a serious issue and has to build up and reestablish his position of authority. He has to put the church in their place and has to introduce the perspective of Jesus and himself an apostle and father of the believers.
Now the healing can begin.
Father, I am grateful for strong people in the church who can speak on Your behalf. Help me be one of those people. Thank You.