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Healing Ties that Bind


By Benjamin H. Liles

          I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

           I thank my God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, so that in everything you were [exceedingly] enriched in Him, in all speech [empowered by the spiritual gifts] and in all knowledge [with insight into the faith]. ~ 1 Corinthians 1:4-5, AMP

           I wonder how thankful we’d all be if we simply just took the time to give this kind of encouragement to one another. I mean, Paul is saying, “I thank God for you, the grace which He gives through the Son, being enriched in all things, through speech, and in knowledge.” That’s the gist of it. In what ways can we extend or even give a better idea of thankfulness and even encouragement? I’ve always heard it said, “You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar.”

           I also wonder how much we can actually bless one another with the gifts with which we've been given? And what about sustaining one another in faith?  I mean we can use our words to heal and bless. It seems that Paul is doing that here. At least here he's thanking the people in Corinth for the grace that is given them. Later, Paul will deal with how they've become divisive with one another. And it seems when a church gets to that point things can go wrong, so much so that it splits.

          So, it kind of makes me wonder if Paul isn't making this a point on the outside of everything. Kind of like how a darner knits and builds up from something small and unrecognizable, but the more that is done you see the beauty and exquisiteness of the work being done. So, when we see Paul saying, "you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge," it makes me believe he's going to admonish the people of the Corinth church about how they should build one another up.

          And if that's the case then Proverbs 18:21 comes to mind: "The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences." The one who speaks death usually receives it back at a cost. In another Proverb we're told, "He who guards his mouth and his tongue, Guards his soul from troubles" (21:23). And since this group of people was heading down a path of contention maybe it's best to take Jesus at His word: "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words, you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:37).

          So, what then can we do? If honey can catch a fly better than vinegar, maybe we ought to listen to the sides of the argument that got to this place of being divided. Rather than lose our cool we count to ten while breathing, and see if we can't do our best to reconcile one to another. After all, we're not just acting out in our faith, but we're empowered by it as well to be a healing balm. Maybe in this sense, we ought to speak less, listen more, and heal those ties that bind rather than watch them come apart and fray.