“Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self condemned.” Titus 3:10-11
Ok, so this verse does not sting me in quite the same as the previous verses in this little series, rather, it troubles me. How can I have nothing to do with somebody? What happened to the forgiving 70 times 7 in Matthew 18:22? If I was to follow this through, how can the love of God be found in me? When I have tried to act upon this verse it is not long before there is a need to act ‘in love’ and with forgiveness…..am I then being untrue to the Word of God?
This verse really troubles me, I want to understand it, in fact I have tried to get beneath each individual word and see if there is something obvious that is missing but it continually comes around to seeming contradictions. AGGGGHHHHH! The context does not help dramatically but what it does share with me, is the truth that there are times when you have to ‘stop playing ball’ with some people. That truth does sting me….sure, there are some folk who I would rather avoid forever, but this does not sit with Matthew 6:14ff for me. I guess the real issues to address are;
1) What is love? Yes, you can love and hate at the same time….our issue is our interpretation of love.
2) What is forgiveness?
3) What does it mean to be ‘divisive’?
4) Can even a divisive person know God’s mercy? Should we, therefore, reciprocate?
It is not my favourite couple of verses but they are some verses that I will keep mulling over and I will trust the Holy Spirit to illuminate my own thinking in that time.