Fairness that hinders

Nevertheless we have not used this right, but endure all things lest we hinder the gospel of Christ.  1 Cor 9:12

In the context of this verse the apostle Paul is commenting on his right, as a minister of the gospel, to receive financial assistance from those he ministers to.  But rather than see the spread of the gospel hindered among them, he preferred rather to endure the hardship of going without.  What wisdom from God!

Just a few chapters earlier Paul had counseled the Corinthians on their unwise and ungodly practice of bringing lawsuits against one another before the unbelieving world.  “Why do you not rather accept wrong?  Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated?”  (1 Corinthians 6:7).  How we cringe at the very suggestion of such a thing.

There is something in our human nature that leads us to feel as though we are entitled to certain things.  One of those things is fairness.  If someone crosses us or treats us poorly we want them to know about.  We probably want other people to know about it as well.  And we want it to be made right.  So we broadcast our offense because we feel entitled to something better.  It’s only fair.  Thus we reason with ourselves and justify our actions and attitudes. 

And the gospel of Christ is hindered because we insist on our “rights”.

My heart aches over the times I have hindered the gospel of Christ because I felt entitled to dwell on petty offenses.  What small thinking this is.  Let us consider Christ, who of all people was treated most unfairly.  Yet he endured the shame of it all.  Why?  For the joy that was set before Him.

There is for us also a joy that awaits.  It is the joy of hearing the very voice of our own Lord Jesus saying “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  For this brief little moment called life there will be the pain of suffering silently, but oh what bliss to know that we have not hindered the glorious gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

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