Friday, November 11th. 2 John 2:1-11

“The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:  Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, in truth and love.”

 

“I was overjoyed to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we have been commanded by the Father. But now, dear lady, I ask you, not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning, let us love one another. And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment just as you have heard it from the beginning—you must walk in it.”

 

“Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh; any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist! Be on your guard, so that you do not lose what we have worked for, but may receive a full reward. Everyone who does not abide in the teaching of Christ, but goes beyond it, does not have God; whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.”  2 John 2:1-11

 

Guilt by association is a tricky matter.  Is cutting yourself off from those with different views, even those who deny Jesus, the best or right thing to do?

 

Rick Warren, teaching for the 40 Days of Purpose, said that Christians are to be in the world but not of the world.  He cautioned that it is dangerous for Christians to be so worldly as to be ineffective.

 

The writer of James said it this way:  Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God (James 4:4).  And, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this:  to care for the orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”

 

I think I hear what they are saying but it remains for me a tricky matter.

 

The writer of 2 John is warning his readers to be watchful for those who are attacking their faith in Jesus.  They are denying Jesus’ divinity and thus negating who he was and what he taught.  Their teaching is dangerous to the new and fragile faith of the writer’s community.  So he counsels them, “Do not receive into the house or welcome anyone who comes to you and does not bring this teaching; for to welcome is to participate in the evil deeds of such a person.”

 

Again, I hear what he is staying but it remains for me a tricky matter.  Isn’t the Bible clear that God not only created but also loves the world?  Isn’t it for love of the world that Jesus died for the ungodly?  And aren’t we called, in the very commandment to love, to love that world and the people in it, with fearlessness, devotion and generosity?

 

How can you be loving and yet cut yourself off from the very ones you are called to love?

 

I had a couple of very close friends who meant the world to me. We spent a lot of time together as friends do. We literally would have done anything for each other. But there came a point when I realized that I had to cut my ties.  The issue that divided us was racism – it came up again and again in how language was used, how stereotypes were thrown about, until I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I felt that my continuing friendship was a betrayal of my own heart-felt and, I believe, well-reasoned convictions. So I ended the friendship. 

 

It has been a couple of years now and I still wonder if I did the right thing. I cut off a friendship.  What good came of it? 

 

Guilt by association is a tricky thing.  Can leaving ever be loving?

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, we can understand the desire to protect ourselves from those who believe differently, even who believe differently about you.  But it is hard for us to always know the right action we ought to take.  Free us to love deeply; guide us when we need to part ways; forgive us when we make mistakes.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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4 Responses to “Friday, November 11th. 2 John 2:1-11”

  1. Linda Stoetzer Says:

    It is comforting to know that I’m not alone in my struggles. Thank you!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I just attended a wonder fall conference of the London (Ontario) Lutheran fall conference where the speakers were an Iman and a Muslim woman professor of Islamic studies. I would hate to think we were disobeying a Biblical command. The meeting was in my Lutheran church. I learned a tremendous amount and found my former beliefs about the Muslim religion were totally wrong, but it only strengthened my own Christian beliefs. I too struggle with the shades of grey and downright contradictions in scripture. Nice to see a pastor struggles with them too.

  3. Molly Myers Says:

    I agree that that it is tricky to try to maintain Christian focus while associating with those who push us outside those limits, and I certainly don’t know the answer. I have done the same thing with friends that I felt threatened my spiritual well-being…

    Aren’t we all just doing the best we can? Maybe it’s right to cut ties with those people, and maybe it’s wrong…we’ll know someday.

  4. Randy Nelson Says:

    A quandary inside a enigma inside a mystery inside a conundrum inside a maze inside a labyrinth can sometimes lead to a comfort zone and that is a pleasure of the flesh. Back to the quandary, etc. The wonder of God is beyond human understanding. And that statement in itself is a comfort zone so back to the quandary, etc. Is it possible to have wisdom within the knife edge of the present? Back to the quandary, etc.

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