Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Any fool can destroy, but building others up...

In this morning's reading, Paul mentions that the Lord gave him authority for building up the Corinthians, not for putting them down. I just noticed for the first time that he says this twice in 2 Corinthians, once in chapter 10 and also here:
We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is for your perfection. This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority--the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
2 Corinthians 13.9-10
Every chemistry student learns about entropy - the state of disorder that everything tends toward on a molecular level. Every mother knows about it too, on a room-by-room level.

On citywide or geological scale, too, decay and destruction are easy - earthquakes, rockslides, floods, thunderstorms, and even plain old rain (acid or not) can destroy stuff. As can any fool with explosives.

And on an interpersonal level, too, friendships and partnerships can be destroyed by a careless word.

Once broken, it's very hard to rebuild friendships and partnerships, buildings and cities, arches and mountains.

And fellowships and congregations.

When I look at Paul's comment about the authority the Lord gave him for building up the Corinthians, it inspires me to do more encouragement.

Now this doesn't mean Paul is always "nice" -- because he'd rather they (and we) be mature, complete, and perfect rather than smiling and complacent. And that's something I need to aim at, too.

Here's something I wonder, though: Who has the authority today to build others up (not tear them down)? Could the answer be: "every Christian does"?

And if, as I suppose, you and I have this authority, how does God want us to use it today?

posted from Japan 7:30am Wed Sep 13, 2006

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