Questions & Answers
Dealing with unruly brothers?
For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Now, this is the determination by which Paul viewed all things, and it is also the determination he desired for all who are in Christ. This is the determination by which I see Paul drawing the line in his many situations. In other words, when others determined to know one another after the flesh, he made a case of it. It was this way with the immoral man in 1 Corinthians 5 since the whole thing had caused these believers to view one another by the comparative standards of the flesh and become arrogant over something that normally would have caused them to grieve.
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone's bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15
Consider the Thessalonians. In both letters Paul dealt with issues concerning the Lord's return. Now, isn't it interesting that at the end of the second letter Paul speaks of those who are busybodies and leading unruly lives and not working? I say interesting because this is exactly how the flesh responds to end-of-the-world discussions, isn't it? Things are coming to and end so there's no need to go to work since it will all be over soon, so let's hang out and discuss it. Talking and speculating about the Lord's return is a mostly futile pastime. Whenever Paul or John wrote about things-to-come it was always geared toward the reality we share in Christ NOW. Themes like: Since we will all stand before God, THEREFORE don't judge your brother anymore. But apparently, these men were caught up in a view of each other according to the flesh so they argued and pushed their opinions. The unruliness was merely a sign of one who was determined to view all things according to the flesh ... even Christ.
So these guys stopped working to support themselves. Guess who was supporting them? Yep, other believers who probably felt responsible to help them. And what were they actually supporting by doing this? They provided the means by which these guys could spend their time speculating on more foolishness instead of being given the wonderful opportunity to get in touch with the real stuff of life in their own lives and the lives of their brothers.
I've seen this same kind of laziness and unruliness abound on the Internet. I get a pretty good idea when people probably do nothing but spend their day espousing their opinions all day long. That's why most Christian discussion groups are nothing but religious wastelands using Jesus as an excuse for their fleshly desires. I've heard many believers complain of the lack of life and fellowship in such groups.