Read 2 Corinthians 12:19-21.
Indulging in quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, factions, slander, gossip, arrogance, disorder, impurity, sexual sin and debauchery. Oh, I see – you’re obviously talking about what goes on down at church.
The building may be beautiful, but our lives often are not. The grounds may even be pretty, but our souls can be pretty messed up in places. And the very things people expect to see in us can at times be shockingly absent, replaced by things equally startling, but sinful.
Church, you see, is a many splendored – and splintered – thing.
Yet when this model Christian, Paul, saw the church, he was not put off by the things that disappointed him. Rather, he felt himself led to throw himself into the mix of things all the more. So much so that he could honestly say that “… everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.” (vs.19)
God my Father in heaven, as I look at your Son’s church here on earth and consider my place within it, make me like this man, Paul. May I never see the failings of your people as reasons to quit or call to retreat in discouragement, but as invitations for me to plunge in to help as I can. May the comfort and healing you have given me in my failings flow through me to others, that they might find guidance away and protection from their self-destructive ways. As you have given me strength, may I be willing to share it and where am I weak, may I be willing to empathize. May all that I do be not for my own blessing, but for the benefit of all others. In your Son’s name I pray. Amen.