Much Ado about Nothing, part 2
Last time we met, I noted that the title to a Shakespeare play, “Much Ado About Nothing,” is often true in the church. We’ve all seen examples of how people make mountains out of mole hills. That is, they focus on trivial issues and expand minor misunderstandings way out of proportion. Something that should be a minor irritant becomes a major issue.
In today’s text, Paul addresses a minor irritant that had become a major issue, and in doing so, he gives us an example of how to deal with trivial issues in the church.
Last time, we looked at the first three of these points. In dealing with trivial issues, we should…
- Recognize good intentions. 1:15-17
Notice the words “I intended” (.15) and “I was planning” (.17). Paul had changed his plans for good reasons; he had good intentions. He was dealing with the people in good faith.
If we want to avoid making much ado about nothing, we should give people the benefit of the doubt; assume that people are making decisions for good reasons.
2. Appreciate potential benefits. .15b-16
He mentions here a “second benefit.” His plan was to visit the church in Corinth twice. Those two visits would give the people in Corinth two opportunities to partner with Paul in spreading the Gospel.
To avoid making much ado about nothing, we should try to be optimistic and see things in a positive light. We must avoid a critical spirit that puts a negative spin on everything.
3. Avoid unwarranted accusations. .17
- Accusation #1: the decision was made “lightly,” i.e., irresponsibly, without considering the needs of others.
- Accusation #2: the decision was made “according to the flesh,” i.e., according to his own mood and inclination; casually, flippantly.
- Accusation #3: the decision was inconsistent/contradictory -- “Yes, Yes and No, No.” I.e., Paul was unstable and irresponsible.
If we want to avoid making much ado about nothing, we must avoid judging people’s motives and heart attitudes. We usually do not know why people do what they do, and we must avoid assuming that people have evil motives.
Let’s go on in the passage and see what else Paul tells us about dealing with trivial issues in the church.