There is a fine line between not associating with someone who is rebelling against spiritual leadership and “shunning” them. What is the difference? I think the message Bible helps us understand what it is to “not associate” with someone without making them feel like an enemy.
The Message Bible reads, “If anyone refuses to obey our clear command written in this letter, don’t let him get by with it. Point out such a person and refuse to subsidize his freeloading. Maybe then he’ll think twice. But don’t treat him as an enemy. Sit him down and talk about the problem as someone who cares. May the Master of Peace himself give you the gift of getting along with each other at all times, in all ways. May the master be truly among you!” That is good advice.
It seems that the message here is that we should do our best to get along with those who are not participating as they should. The point is not to shun them, but to be careful not to endorse their disobedience by allowing things to go along as if everything was in order.
When we see another in disobedience and act as if there is nothing wrong we cause a breach in the peace. That is, every time we see them we become a bit uncomfortable and we lose our inner peace. However, if we confront the issue in love as a brother or sister and reason with the person, we may win them to the Lord, but even if they do not change, we have not alienated them and we have kept the peace.
Prayer: Lord, It is hard for me to deal with those who are disobedient. I tend to either be too harsh or to just let it go. Grant me the grace to gently confront those who need more grace and thereby keep the peace. In Jesus name, amen.
Principle: We can be at peace with those who are not walking in the faith without endorsing their lifestyle.
Affirmation: I can be at peace with those who do not share my faith and convictions without condoning their life choices.
Reflection: The easy way out is to judge those who are different and shun them. That way we don't have deal with the messy details of relationships. Is that the best way to be at peace with others? Think about it.
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