14th Sunday after Pentecost
September 6, 2020
Guest Deacon Ned Lindstrom
Do you have any pet peeves? Things that annoy you? That driver who leaves their turn signal on and on and on? That person with the rude language, who doesn't care and uses that word? That person who slurps their soup (shudder)?
St Paul says we are to love one another, Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself. But that is not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes it is painful to see friends fighting when you love them both. Sometimes that other person is not very “lovable.”
For example, dealing with a family member who abuses drugs. All too common a problem these days.
How do you help them? How do you love them when they do so many bad things? Lying and stealing, making bad choices. We don't want to enable them, help them so much that they aren't responsible for themselves and just take advantage of us. And just letting them go does not feel right, tough love is not as simple as it sounds.
Jesus gives us a very practical model for church members if you have a problem with someone.
-Go and talk to the person alone, don't point out someone's faults in front of others, God forbid you argue in front of the kids, or in public. Do it privately and be respectful.
-If that doesn't work, take one or two others with you. Not “I'll take my cousin, he is six foot eight, that will get their attention! They will have to listen then! Scare them straight!
No, that's not it, it says to bring witnresses, reliable honest people, that you both can trust.
-If that doesn't work, go to the church, and it better be very important, not just slurping soup.
And if THAT doesn't work, I used to think it meant 3 strikes and your out! Off with their head, get out of the pool!
Treat them like a Gentile and a tax collector.
BUT then one day I had an epiphany, a revelation about this. “Gentile and tax collector?”
Who wrote this book? Matthew. Who did Matthew work for? Romans, Gentiles. What was Matthew's job? Tax collector. When did Jesus call Matthew? When he was at the tax collector's booth. Then Jesus went to Matthew's houes and ate with him and the Disciples.
Treat them like Gentiles and tax collectors, how did Jesus treat tax collector Matthew and his friends? He loved them anyway. Jesus did not shun them, ignore them, get rid of them. Jesus and the Disciples joined them and ate with them, even if they slurped their soup!
Let's pray: Dear God, help us to love our neighbor even if they are not lovable, just like Jesus loves us. Amen.
If you prefer to watch a video of Pr. Ivy giving her sermon,
click here: https://www.facebook.com/Lakeerielutheranparish/videos/241423980453815/