The Messiness of Relationships

You: “Good morning.  How are you?”

Me: “Great.  You?”

You: “Awesome.”

And then we both go on our merry way, hurting, feeling along, unwilling to either be a burden to another, or to bear the burdens of the other.  This is not how things were meant to be, yet, it is the way they are.  Why?

Relationships are messy.  Sometimes they involve pain and we delude ourselves into thinking that if we can simply suppress our pain, our thoughts and our feelings, that they will just go away.  Other times, we simply resolve that “it is what it is” and we just go through life, empty, joy-less, hopeless and sad.  Still other times, these relational issues are caused by lies, either told to us, or believed by us-the ones that we’ve told ourselves. The solution to each of these issues is confrontation.  Sometimes, this confrontation is with self, we need to look boldly within and see what lies we’ve fallen for and are now guiding our decisions.  Other times, this confrontation will involve God, we need to be confronted by Him and allow this confrontation to change us.  Finally, there is the confrontation with the other.

In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul was addressing some of these relational issues in the church at Corinth.  The rumors being spread about Paul and Titus, that while they had been among the Corinthians they had taken money that did not belong to them to help support themselves.  So, Paul simply confronts them.  Check out how Paul confronts these rumors:

Verses 16-18: He tells then that he’s heard the rumors about himself and Titus, and then asks them questions about how Paul and Titus were relationally involved in ministry at Corinth.

Verse 19: After making a defense, Paul then writes that the only Person that he truly needs a defense before is God.  It is God in this situation Who is Jury and Judge.  Because He is Truth, Paul will simply let God judge, and tells the Corinthians that, in essence, he couldn’t care less what they think of him.  And yet…

Verses 20-21: Paul confesses that he is not looking looking forward to the visit.  Why?  Because of the relational messiness that will certainly ensue.  He is fearful of both being a disappointment and being disappointed by them.  And when that happens, “quarrels, jealousy, flaring tempers, taking sides, angry words, vicious rumors, swelled head, and general bedlam” will ensue.  What’s more, Paul says that he is not looking forward to the “second humiliation by God” among them…Paul is saying that because God is jury, that the truth will be revealed and that the Corinthians will be embarrassed.  Finally, that all of this will be made worse because there are a large number of people still “sinning over and over in the same old ways, who refuse to turn away from the pigsty of evil, sexual disorder, and indecency in which they wallow.”

Essentially, the root of all of this is sin, relational sin, that un-confronted, will only tear the Body of Christ apart and neuter it, making it completely ineffective in its mission to seek and save the lost by the spreading of the Gospel.

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