Sucker Punched


Breaking news is swirling around the NFL world. Earlier today a minor disagreement happened between the New York Jets’ quarterback Geno Smith and linebacker IK Enemkpali. The argument resulted in Enemkpali overreacting and punching Smith in the face. Jets coach Todd Bowles called the act “childish” and labeled it as a “sucker punch.” Enemkpali was immediately released from the team. As for Smith, he suffered two fractures in his jaw, will need surgery, and will miss 6-10 weeks of the soon coming NFL season (ESPN).

It’s amazing how people who should be working towards the same goal can so easily divide themselves over little stuff. If Enemkpali had any desire to help his team win a super bowl, he severely hurt that cause by taking out the Jets starting quarterback. It’s possible that Smith could have handled the situation better on his end as well, but obviously Enemkpali went totally out of control.

While members of the church rarely haul off and punch each other in the face, it’s sad when we quibble, complain, and divide over trivial matters. So often gossip spews out against each other instead of going to the one we have the problem with (Matthew 18:15), and often the fault isn’t even about a sin issue. With a raised nose and puffed out chest, the song leaders, preachers, and scripture readers are unfairly critiqued and criticized. At times it seems no one is safe from each other’s disapproval, not even the elders or new Christians.

Ephesians 4:16 says, “from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” When the church body is at it’s best, it is a close knit, perfectly functioning unit. In order for this to happen, the body absolutely must be “building up” each other, and this “building up” must be done in “love.”

When we say negative things about each other, all we do is hurt each other and tear down the body. Rarely is anything truly good accomplished. In fact, most times we are just making it harder for everyone to reach the goal of heaven, a goal we are suppose to be striving for together. If something absolutely must be said about a member, a song leader, the elders, or the preacher, then let’s avoid gossip and do it privately with love, humility, and through encouragement (Hebrews 3:13; Acts 18:24-26; Philippians 2:3ff).

Jesus warned that a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25). The Jets are in serious trouble now because of the division that occurred and the sucker punch that resulted. In the church, let’s stop tearing down and sucker punching each other. Instead, let’s commit ourselves to build each other up. Let’s love each other, encourage each other, and “let us do good to the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). So many wonderful things will result.

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