That was the question Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 5:12. In fact, as he talks about the need for the church to deal with a brother persisting in extreme sexual immorality, 3 times (verses 10, 12, 13) he makes the point – our responsibility is to those in the church, NOT OUTSIDE OF IT.
Sunday we reflected on how, contrary to Paul’s statement, Christians often obsess with judging and condemning “outsiders”. Maybe it is easier to take a distant shot at unbelievers than to deal with the people close to us and risk damaging those relationships. Paul is emphatic: “what do I have to do with judging outsiders….those outside God judges”.
The “outsiders” are those who are not Christians. They have not declared allegiance to Christ and perhaps had not even learned the will of God. The behavior is still wrong and Paul says God will judge them. But he also makes a difference between how we treat them and how we treat a brother who persists in sin.
Questions: Doesn’t this teach us something about how we should interact with non-believers? We must teach about sin, but could the “tone” of our teaching be perceived as angry self-righteousness and just push people further from Jesus? Jesus is our example in all things. How did he deal with outsiders?
We would love to hear your thoughts.