Summary: Making Godly choices in all matters is an essential part of our Christian walk.
Choices, Choices, Choices
April 21, 2001
We live in a wonderfully free country! One of the incredible freedoms we have in our nation is to be able to make choices. We can decide what we want to eat today, and all of us have choices. We can decide to buy a different vehicle, and we have not only the opportunity to make that kind of decision but to even decide what features might be on it and even what color it might be. We can choose the size of our family. We can choose where we want to live, because we have the freedom to travel to get to work and other centers where we might have non-work obligations or commitments. We can choose in so many areas of our lives, including in our Christian and spiritual lives; we, constantly, make choices about how we’ll work out what we believe in our lives.
All my life, I’ve had a hard time with 1 Corinthians 6. It seems to be a portion of the letter to the Corinthians in which Paul says something about this, a little about that, and then goes on to another topic, in addition. I haven’t been able to find it tremendously relevant and valuable to me. It seemed to me that there must be a ‘big point’ in all that is written there- that there is a ‘point’ to the chapter, and, yet, it always seemed to me that all the different points Paul made didn’t fit together into a nice whole.
Well, that changed a month or so back and it seems like I can see now for the first time. I’ve recognized that what Paul writes here fits right in with all he has written to this point in the book; his consistency is really incredible! Maybe you’ve always seen this, and that’s terrific. I haven’t. The subject of choices is very important in this chapter, along with the encouragement to make good, sound, and godly decisions or choices!
So, what’s so exciting about what Paul writes to the Corinthians, and to us? Let’s look at this chapter together and see what’s in this letter to one of our congregations nearly 2000 years ago.
The beginning situation is rather shocking, if you’re used to thinking as an idealistic Christian. If you don, you can’t imagine this kind of thing happening. Ideally, you’re right, but practically…. well, it doesn’t always work out ideally. Church members were taking church members to court! They shouldn’t be doing that, though. Right there, we’re confronted with a choice, aren’t we? We see the choice that some were making and we’re challenged by the fact that this was not making the best choice.
1 Cor. 6. 1- 8- Paul begins with very strong language- in a sense he’s saying ‘how dare you make this choice?’ Or, ‘how can you make this choice when there’s the correct alternative right before your eyes?’ Paul clarifies very quickly. This is all about how we feel about our spiritual family, first of all, and, secondly, how we treat our brothers and sisters, and it’s interesting that it seems we can, and will, do almost anything to avoid face-to-face confrontation. The very idea of taking a brother to court speaks of this- can’t they just get together and talk it out and negotiate an agreeable conclusion? Well, life doesn’t always go like that.
A few years ago- approximately 20- there was an interesting situation in my family, between two brothers. These men were above 60 at the time. One had an agreement to be able to borrow a farm truck from the other when he needed it and one time he did. But the other brother found that the shed door was open and some of his tools were missing, in addition to the truck. So, what was the first thing he did? He called his brother, of course!? No, he called the RCMP and reported that his brother had stolen some of his tools from his shed. Well, you can imagine the grief this caused within the family. We ended up with two brothers who wouldn’t speak to each other for nearly two years. In the midst of this time, their mother, aged over 90, died. This situation presented tensions into which everyone in the family entered, and it wasn’t pleasant being around these brothers during that time. The borrowing brother was clear that he didn’t take the tools, and that he had shut the door properly, as he always did. But do you think the other brother would believe that? No! So, rather than discuss the situation and hear each other out, they simply didn’t speak for many, many months- actually, for close to two years! (Ideally, this shouldn’t happen, but practically, it did, and does, in families and in the body of Christ.)