Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Thought for Thursday 8/15/13

“We command you, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from everyone who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which they received from us.”  2 Thessalonians 3:6

“Tolerance” is a big word and asks much from the faithful.  It has become a politically correct word which implies that we must learn to “live and let live”.  We should not, however, confuse “tolerance” with “endorsement”.  “Tolerance” simply means that we see the way things are, the way far too many “walk disorderly”, and recognize that we cannot dictate how others choose to live.  “Endorsement”, on the other hand, means that we actively give our stamp of approval to their “disorderly” lives which go against the “traditions” to which this passage refers; the “tradition” of Messiah to honor and, yes, obey the Law of the Lord and look after one another in mutual accountability to the faith.  Anything less than this cannot be construed as “love”; it is, rather, “neglect”.

That we reach out in order to attest to the more excellent way is a necessary thing as the mission to which we are called, but to get too deeply involved in such a “disorderly” life could possibly become a stumbling block and overwhelming temptation for us.  So we reach out, but we do so with extreme caution while being mindful of how slippery the slope actually is.  When it becomes clear that these others do not want to hear the Truth, when it becomes clear that they are going to reject the Good News, it is time to withdraw peaceably.  Remember these in our prayers and devotions, but look ahead to those who may be more open to the Gospel of our Lord. 

This warning to the faithful of Thessalonica is not a spiritual threat of judgment; it is an acknowledgement of a certain reality.  Temptation is real, and sin is real; and both can be utterly destructive especially to those who are new to the faith.  It is an easy thing to fall into “cheap grace” by which we are tempted to believe we are saved “in” our sin rather than “from” our sins.  This lesson is as valid to the Church today as we go about the Church’s business of making disciples of Messiah.  We need one another to stay faithful to the “tradition we received” and in mutual accountability to keep our eyes on the ball.



No comments: