TOM, A HEARTBROKEN husband married to an alcoholic named Sue, one day called the preacher with the news that his wife was drunk again.
The man had taken her back many times over the years, but this time he did not have the strength or desire to try again.
His hope and patience were gone.
Alice, a member of the couple’s Bible class, called the preacher the next day to discuss Sue’s drinking, Tom’s despair, and the couple’s crumbling marriage.
After several minutes of hand-wringing conversation, Alice told the preacher that something about this situation was bothering her.
When asked what that might be, Alice responded, “It bothers me that he’s expected to bear all this alone.”
She went on to suggest that the Bible class should insist on helping the couple: “We must let Tom know that we want to assist him. We can take care of the meals. We can help with the children. That’s no problem. Besides, the hospital has just started a new program for alcoholics…I say that we pay half.”
Nothing the gospel asks of us – compassion, promise-keeping, childbearing, healing – is expected of us as loners.
We exist as family, as a colony who enabled ordinary people like Tom to be saints.
Individualism is one of the greatest cultural threats to the church today.
“It’s none of your business” is often heard on the lips of Christians when someone in the church family asks them about a problem or challenges them about some questionable behavior.
“I’m not hurting anyone else” and “It’s my life” are two other manifestations of this same spirit.
Because these statements are commonly accepted in our culture, Christians sometimes forget that they contradict the Christian faith.
The church is not a cult that controls, but a family that encourages, sometimes confronts, and always loves.
When a Christian falls into sin or slips into despair, concerned brothers and sisters in Christ do whatever must be done to help them overcome the problem.
The letter to Philemon reminds Christians today. . .
Your marriage is not just about you!
Your troubles are not just about you!
Your abuse is not just about you!
Your debt problems are not just about you!
Your temptations are not just about you!
Your greed is not just about you!
Your pregnancy is not just about you!
Your behavior at work is not just about you!
Your lying is not just about you!
Your hurts are not just about you!
Your death is not just about you!
15 “For perhaps he departed for a while for this purpose, that you might receive him forever, 16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave—a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. 17 If then you count me as a partner, receive him as you would me.” Philemon 1:15-17
Owen D. Olbricht/Bruce McLarty, Truth For Today Commentary – An Exegesis & Application of the Holy Scriptures, COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 503-504
“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike