Will be late for Sunday School…

…and that’s another blog. But while I’m waiting for the bread to finish in the oven I’ll post this week’s lesson.

Series: What’s a New Testament Church Like?
Lesson Title: Relationships: The Improvement Factor
Date: Week of August 29
Lesson Passages: 2 Corinthians 10:1-3,15-18 12:14-21

Through this scripture God reminds us that when we deal with difficult relationships, we must act out of love; with patience and humility.   We should confront disagreements, not in an inflammatory way, but as Paul did; lay out the facts, without embellishment. Then, stand ready to forgive; willing to bury the hatchet and let go of the grievance.

Why spend energy to win an argument or prove a point, just to lose the relationship?

Questions:

  1. What sorts of things about Paul were questioned by those challenging his apostolic authority?
  2. How do authorities in our life help to build us up?
  3. How do you feel Paul’s straightforward criticism of Corinth can strengthen them?

Revelation:
Life is full of sticky situations, at work, in family life and with friends — people annoy us, betray us and hurt us. When these situations arise, difficult conversations need to be had, but many times we let the relationship languish rather than confront the issues.

When Paul faced difficulty with the church at Corinth, he didn’t clam up. He refused to give up.  He remained engaged with the Corinthians despite the difficulty. He believed their relationship was more important than his pride or his comfort level.

Some in Corinth accused Paul of being a coward, saying he was only bold in his letters and that he didn’t have a powerful enough presence to be an apostle. Paul directed their attention to Christ’s similar qualities of meekness and gentleness reminding them that what they saw as a liability was evidence that Paul was like Christ.

Homework:
Have you ever seen yourself as a spiritual parent to new Christians as Paul did with the Corinthians? Where the more you showed love, the less they return that love?  Make a special effort to start over with this relationship, maybe first with an encouraging letter, then an outing. Use that time to have the hard conversations, but to let them see your love in the process.

Prayer:
Dear God, thank you for reminding us what’s important in our relationship building. Help us to show love in the most difficult situations. We pray for all those we are in conflict with. Give us patience and courage to confront them and offer guidance with grace. Let us grow into a living example of you. Amen