If You Can't Find Anything Good To Say...
I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus
1 Corinthians 1:4
A number of churches have been immortalized in the Scripture because of their excellence. In Philadelphia they loved the brothers, the church at Jerusalem went on mission to the known world, the church at Berea studied the word of God faithfully. But one church bears the distinction of seemingly having the most problems: The church at Corinth. Listen to a short list of their shortcomings:
- They were fighting with each other, and forming factions
- They were suing one another in pagan courts
- They were disrespecting the Lord’s supper…even getting drunk at it.
- They were neglecting the poor
- They were abusing the spiritual gifts
- They were tolerating, if not condoning, sexual immorality
- Apparently, one man was even having an affair with His mother-in-law!
- …and these are just a few of the issues!
When you look closely at it, the reason we have two rather long letters to the church at Corinth, is because they had a lot of problems that Paul felt the need to address. Thankfully he did so, because the Corinthian letters are rich with insight into the life of the church.
I want you to notice something, that I was recently reminded of. Despite all their shortcomings (and they are many), Paul was still able to recognize some things that were excellent about the church at Corinth. If you read the first 9 verses of 1 Corinthians, you will catch a glimpse of a loving spiritual father looking for something praiseworthy in his spiritual children. He declared them sanctified in Christ, and called them saints, who were among all of the other saints. He offered thanks to God for them, and told them he did that always. He declared that they had been enriched by Christ, and that they were not lacking in any spiritual gifts. And he reminded them that on the Day of our Lord they would be found to be guiltless! Wow!! In spite of all that they were doing wrong, Paul was still able to find thing that were praiseworthy about them!!
I have heard the old adage since my youth, that if you can’t find anything good to say, say nothing at all. Well, friend, I want to challenge you beyond that: If you can’t find anything good to say…keep searching!! If Paul could do that for the Corinthian church, you can do that for someone else. I want to encourage you is the strongest of terms, that before you attempt to teach someone the error of their ways, or correct them in life and godliness, or confront them in love for the purpose of change...that you live looking for something praiseworthy and pointing those things out as often as possible! You are called to be an encourager and the gathered church of Jesus Christ should be a place of encouragement!