In some parts of the church there seems to be a lot of confusion about who followers of Jesus should break bread with. To hear some followers of Jesus talk, they would never hang out with prostitutes, crooks, murderers, and sundry sinners of any kind. These same followers of Jesus would tell us that Jesus commanded them to evangelize the world. Here is my question, how do you catch fish if you stay in your living room? St. Paul reminds us that followers of Jesus are known for their friendship of the most unsavory this world offers for the sake of the Good News:
“I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people” (I Corinthians 5:11-13).
In the last section quoted above, another standard is set for association with those who claim to be followers of Jesus whose lifestyle does not match their confession: don’t drink coffee with them. Some people have interpreted this to mean that excommunication should be practiced in the church. This is question must be answered by every congregation.
Meanwhile, if you are follower of Jesus make friends of those this world finds despicable because you remember you were one of those despicable ones who was loved by the Divine Lover.
Ronald Friesen © 2015