WOW!!! I was speaking with a young woman yesterday while at work about how you can read a verse one day, but the next time you read it, it takes on a whole new meaning. I'm in awe of this verse. It's not the first time I've read it, and it will not be the last. When I read the commentary in my Bible, I almost fell off the chair...
"Paul founded the church in Corinth on his second missionary journey. After he left, 18 months later, the people began arguing, divisions arose, and some slipped back into the immoral life-style prevalent in the city. Paul wrote this letter to recommend that immediate corrective action be taken to clear up their confusion about right and wrong and to remove the immortality among them. The Corinthian people had a reputation for jumping from fad to fad; Paul wanted to keep Christianity from degenerating into just another fad." (Life Application Study Bible)This one verse sheds a bright light on our society. We can see the divisions in the Church - their different doctrines. The immoral life-styles practiced in this country, condemned by certain denominations and each of their "right and wrong" beliefs.
Paul's message was to the Christians. The focus of his letter addresses those who accepted Jesus as the Savior sent by God to redeem their pitiful souls. Their reflection of love and forgiveness should have been the appeal for non-Christians, not their self imposed rules and open judgement of the other sinners. They tried to complicate Christianity - we complicate Christianity without even realizing we are doing it. We place conditions on who can attend our church, who can become a member of our church, who can hold a place of importance in our church. Some have added how to pray and who to pray to revisions. Some are forbidden from entering the doors of certain churches. Some even have rules that are so warped it causes one's eyes to bulge from their head in total disbelief.
Bottom line: Christ welcomes ALL people into his Church! He leads by example, not by a stringent set of ridiculous rules that exclude. He forgives ALL sin regardless of the sin or how many times that sinner stumbles and falls during their lifetime. He asks that we treat ALL people as he would treat them. He does not look down on those who are destitute or on those who have given in to their inner temptations. He loves the sick, the poor and the lowly. He loves the beggar and the thief. He loves the murderer and the rapist. He loves the homosexual, the transgendered and the politician. He loves them for who they are, not what they are. He says "come" - do we?