12 February 2009

Rather 'Ronged

1Co 6:7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

To be sure, this passage is talking about believers having civil lawsuits with other believers (read verses 1-8 for context). But we'd make a mistake to say it's no deeper than that. Verse seven tells us there's a heart issue here. "Already a defeat for you" is like saying "the lawsuit is a symptom far beyond the core problem."I suggest that the core problem is selfishness, the failure to obey the law of love towards neighbor.

"Why not rather suffer wrong?" Rather than what? Should we rather suffer wrong than not suffer wrong? Knowing that any given wrong is evidence of sin, we should all desire no wrongs towards one another at all. If that's not it, let's try again: suffer wrong rather than what? Let's look at verse 8:

1Co 6:8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud--even your own brothers!

This suggests that the opposite of suffering wrongs is doing wrongs. So, verse 7 is saying we should rather be at the receiving end of a wrong than the giving end. As I said, we should ultimately rather there be no wrongs at all. But our sinful tendency is to be selfish, so it is a given that, even amongst Christians, there will be wrongers and wrongees. Until we are glorified, that's just the way it is. So given this situation, why not rather be wronged?

I sometimes think I should begin every day expecting to be wronged by someone, because it will probably happen anyway. Then when someone crosses me, instead of getting angry because my "rights" have been violated, I can I know my blessing that instead of being the wronger I was the wrongee. And it gives an opportunity to display grace. Even further from getting angry, I can pray that the wronger might know God's grace. I cannot presume to know all that a wronger is going through in life, to say that a little offense against me is worth fighting about.

Consider thinking this way every time you get behind the wheel of a car. You just know someone out there will cross you. Why not rather be cut off?

Mat 5:38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.'
39 But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
43 You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

May we be a people overflowing with grace and forgiveness for one another and for those outside even as grace and forgiveness has abounded unto us.

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