S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say – I, not the Lord – if a brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is happy to live with him, he should not divorce her. 7:13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is happy to live with her, she should not divorce him. 7:14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified because of the wife, and the unbelieving wife because of her husband. Otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 7:15 But if the unbeliever wants a divorce, let it take place. In these circumstances the brother or sister is not bound. God has called you in peace. 7:16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will bring your husband to salvation? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will bring your wife to salvation?
O (Observation): Before we jump to practical application, we make some observations…and here are mine:
- This is not a law we enforce.
- The broader idea is that one person in a relationship can influence the other.
- The standards which believers hold themselves to will be different than the ways of the world.
Paul thinks about community, and how it applies to individual relationships. He doesn’t want individual believers dismissing their significant others if they don’t believe in Jesus. Rather, he calls on believers to know that they can impact the faith lives of their significant others.
A (Application): As I broaden this theme, I wonder about how we apply this principle of being one with non-believers in our worshipping community? Can we welcome in people who struggle with or doubt their faith? YES! at least, I hope it’s a yes…
After all, isn’t that our call? To fish for people?
As we use UP-IN-OUT as a model at our congregation, we hope that the people we meet in our community (OUT) might one day become people we celebrate and join in friendship (IN).
As I prepare for a funeral of a sibling of one of our church members, I’ve been thinking about how Jesus is a light in the dark (John 1). I’ll be reminding those gathered today that Shannon was a light the darkness of of the lives of others, just as Christ is a light in all of our lives.
Who has been brave enough to show you the light in dark times? And in whose life (lives) are you shining the light of Christ?
P (Prayer): Lord, relationships mean everything to us. Help us to be witnesses to those with whom we are in a relationship. Help us to be kind and understanding to one another and give us strength to make that witness joyful. Amen.