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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: 1 Corinthians 16 - 2 Corinthians 2

Every once in a while, you have an experience that gives you a glimpse of where you are at in your faith development. I had one of those moments a few years into my first pastorate.

One of the members of the community I served had donated something very special to our church. The object was temporarily being stored in my office. Before we were able to formally present it to the congregation, someone removed the object from my office without telling anyone. Its removal caused quite a stir! In particular, the situation caused a great deal of pain for the individual who had donated the object.

For several weeks, it was made to seem as if my carelessness was to blame for the item’s disappearance. Then one day the object was found in a place that made it very clear what had happened.

At that moment, I had a choice. I could take the path to personal vindication and reveal what had happened; or I could put restoration before vindication and help the community heal and move forward. With the Spirit’s leading, I chose the latter. And what a choice that was. Things turned out far better than I could have hoped – both for the individuals involved and for the community!

This showed me that I had paid attention to those amazing mentors in my life that taught me conflicts are best resolved when individuals are more focused on the big picture (i.e. God’s love and grace) than who’s right and who’s wrong.

Paul understood this point well – for in the latter portion of today’s reading Paul addressed a similar circumstance where an individual in Corinth had caused much pain. Paul could have encouraged the community to confront the individual or expel the individual. Instead, Paul chose something better; love. “Now is the time to forgive the [person],” Paul wrote, “and help [the person] back on [the person’s] feet. If all you do is pour on the guilt, you could very well drown [the person] in it. My counsel now is to pour on the love.”

Perhaps there is a situation in your life where it would be easy for you to focus on blaming someone: a circumstance where you could lose yourself in trying to prove who is right and who is wrong. If that’s the case, ask yourself if that is truly what matters. Or might the situation give you the opportunity to prove something far more important: that God’s love and grace can work wonders when it comes to healing and restoration!

Til next time…

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