Regarding a member of the church in Corinth that had obviously sinned against Paul and the local congregation the apostle wrote this in 2 Corinthians 2:7-11:
“…you ought to forgive and comfort him so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you therefore to reaffirm your love for him…in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.”
Paul’s purpose with this wayward brother who had sinned and then come back to the church was not to reestablish his reputation or the reputation of the church. It was purely redemptive. Love this hurting brother. Forgive him. Comfort him. Accept him. Because if you don’t, Satan wins.
If the Church is the visible evidence of God’s salvation work through Christ — God’s work of forgiving and accepting — then Satan’s schemes would be devised to destroy that evidence. Our mutual acceptance of one another and our forgiving one another is our participation with God in Christ of that same salvation work. Accepting and forgiving each other is how we demonstrate what Jesus has done for us. The whole point of the gospel is forgiveness and acceptance. And if Satan can keep us from doing that, he would consider himself successful. If we can’t practice forgiveness and acceptance with each other, how could we possibly be expected to practice it with others? Satan knows that. Our refusal to forgive and accept compromises the gospel. Satan knows that. We proclaim the gospel by the way we act toward each other. Satan knows that. He’s trying to outwit us. But we are not unaware of his schemes.
Forgiving each other and accepting one another thwarts the devils schemes against God’s Church. Let’s practice some of that strategic forgiving and accepting this week.
John Weber, the long time team chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys, died Thursday evening of a heart attack at the age of 59. You can read a couple of the stories about his passing along with player comments about John here and here.
I had the very good pleasure of knowing John from our trips on the Cowboys charter while I was at KRLD. He and I sat next to each other on several of those trips and shared our faith and our love for ministry. It was on two specific trips, both in 2003, one to Philly and one to Detroit, that I talked to him about my desires to get out of radio and into Christian ministry full-time. He counseled me to stay in sports radio. He told me that there weren’t very many Christians in the industry, which I knew all too well (it was one of the reasons I felt I needed to get out), and that I was serving God by the way I was living my life in the world. He told me that over and over.
I eventually wound up rejecting that advice. But John was just so sincere and so optimistic and compassionate about me as a Christian and as a person that I’ve always cherished the conversations we had together. I was just talking about John to my Wednesday night class here at Legacy last week. John had introduced me to Russell Maryland at an Athletes in Action golf tournament that our radio station was co-hosting in 2004. And I was using the example of Russell, this massive former Pro-Bowler and Outland Trophy winner and Super Bowl champion, as an illustration to convey the idea of meekness in the Beautitudes. Power under control. The way Russell acted so gently with the small, fragile, handicapped children he met at that tournament. I was talking about John in my Bible class. And within 24 hours he was gone.
I remember a particular lunch at Chili’s off of LBJ and Preston Road in the spring of ’05. We were talking about discipleship. And I remember leaning over my cheesesteak sandwich and telling John, “Jesus never said ‘accept me.’ He said ‘follow me.'” We both decided right then that true discipleship to Jesus was what was missing in our churches.
John and I emailed each other only a couple of times after I left radio to go to school at Austin Grad. He was very gracious and encouraging and full of praise and affirmation. After I’d been here at Legacy a couple of weeks, I told him where I was and what I was doing. And we both said we needed to get together for lunch and get caught up.
John was a great Christian man who impacted lots and lots of lives. He was beyond reproach in the way he lived and interacted with all those around him. The Cowboys have suffered two losses this season. Last Thursday’s loss of John Weber is the one that counts. It’s huge.
I’d like to change my season prediction on the Cowboys to 15-1 and the Super Bowl.