By Michael Youssef, Ph D. May 23, 2020
Read 1 Corinthians 4:14-21.
Paul so loved the Corinthian believers that he considered them his “dear children” (1 Corinthians 4:14). In spite of their pride and disobedience toward Scripture, in spite of their immoral lifestyle, doctrinal errors, and spiritual immaturity, he loved them. Like a good father, he wanted to bring them healing and comfort. He wanted to help them overcome fear and apprehension, worry and anxiety. And so, the apostle Paul admonished his Corinthian kids.
No one enjoys correction, but speaking up in humility can often be the most loving thing we can ever do. When we see a brother or sister going into the deep end, we cannot shrug our shoulders and say, “Well, it’s none of my business.” If we love them, we will lovingly admonish them.
That’s what Paul did for the Corinthians, but he expressed his willingness to bring “a rod of discipline” if they did not repent of their sin (v. 21, emphasis added). Some people think discipline is a dirty word, as if it means physical abuse. But that’s not what Biblical discipline is. Discipline means that if I see my son is standing in front of a train, I will immediately come and move him out of danger. The Corinthians were allowing their pride to lead them into very dangerous territory. And Paul was willing to do everything in his power to pull them back from the brink, pointing them back to the grace of God. That is love in action.
Prayer: God, thank You for calling me out of darkness into Your light. Help me to live attuned to Your will and ready to submit to Your purposes in my life. I know Your discipline is always for my good. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“I am writing this not to shame you but to warn you as my dear children” (1 Corinthians 4:14).