Can You Handle the Truth?
A Whip or Love
Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 4:14-21
Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 4:20-21
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?
This week I am using the name “Simon” as an icon for honest evaluations. I realize that the Simon of the TV show “American Idol,” is neither kind nor always right. I am not suggesting that we should blast people with our opinions, especially in ways lacking love or mercy. I am suggesting that occasionally we all could use a “Simon” to see ourselves honestly.
The Apostle Paul speaks of this kind of approach in our scripture for today. There were those in the Corinthian church that had become arrogant and rebellious. Others in the church did not want to deal with it. The apostle said he would have to deal with this behavior on his next visit if these arrogant “church folks” refused to repent. He asked them a question that would have an obvious answer, “Shall I come to you with a whip, or in love and with a gentle spirit?”
All of us want people to approach us with a gentle spirit. But some people don’t respond to this gentle approach. Sometimes a whip type approach is needed to bring about change. Psychologist Dr. James Dobson refers to this approach as “tough love.” Do you have a sensitive and open spirit that is ready to grow… changing you into a better person? Or do you get angry and defensive when anyone dares to suggest that you should look at yourself more honestly? I certainly do not find it easy to face my own shortcomings, but I know it is the only path to growth. What would “Simon” say about you?
Father, at the end of my life, I want to look back and know you were able to use me. Please defuse my defensiveness and encourage my attentiveness. In Jesus’ Name, amen.