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Generosity is Not…
By Mike Stickler
1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister; but, is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
I learned a hard lesson a few years back by bringing a person into my home, giving him a job, and sharing close confidences, putting all in my generous hope for this person.
Over the years of ministry, I’ve always tried to be a champion of the downtrodden, the addicted, and the impoverished. More than once, I’ve invited individuals or families into our home for short periods to help them get their feet under themselves and – hopefully – a fresh start. My wife and I have done this because we felt compassion for those who did not always have the blessings we had when growing up, and we believed it was a sacrifice the Lord desired.
I would like to say it worked out in every occurrence; but, it didn’t.
Some returned to their old ways immediately and are still, many years later, fighting the same lack of victory in their Christian walk.
But this particular man was different. His was a lifetime of unrepentant behavior, multiple marriages – all ending in divorce, ongoing and multiple substance abuse and addictions, and literally every job and business attempt ending in an utter, self-inflicted, disaster.
So how did this happen?
He was slick. Charismatic. He expressed his current situation(s) from a false repentance, which I did not discern, instead, clearly believed. This, coupled with my desire to see him succeed and experience the life Christ had called him to, was a prescription for disaster.
Suffice it to say, the months I had this person in my home and in my life, cost me years upon years of painful consequences. Often I would cry out to God and say, “Where did I go wrong?”
But here in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he is clear. An unrepentant man, a swindler, is not to be ignored but to be handled with grace and discernment—and at arm’s length! Paul instructs us not to allow this type of person into our house for dinner. To instead, we are to discern clearly, and in love for our community, remove them from our fellowship (v.13).
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
Does my story remind you of a similar incident? Share here and tell us how you dealt with the consequences and experiences. What was the greatest takeaway?
In the comment section below, write what you learned about yourself.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.