Monday, August 15, 2016

AUGUST 14 "LIVING WITH THE STIGMA OF OTHERS"

Paul, in his writing to the Corinthians opens up about this stigma, that he has had to live with. As hard and faithful as he has been, Paul is still not considered an "Apostle" within many circles. He is not regarded as being in the same class and group as Peter, James & John. They are the "Apostles".  Paul is like the black sheep of the Apostles, at best. Paul writes himself, "even if I am not considered an Apostle to others, I am to you!". In other words, "don't you start treating me like that too, enough is enough!". We think that to be able to flourish in our Church, to be able to flourish in the Kingdom of God, we have to be that Christian that everybody loves, everybody excepts and everybody thinks the best of. "It's easy for them, everybody thinks they're so great, let them try living with the stigma that I have to live under". Paul teaches us that we can flourish as a Christian, despite what others think, God can and God does, still want to use us. Paul came later, Paul was not one of the first, selected by Jesus, Paul doesn't have the 3 years one on one with Jesus, Paul wasn't there through the trial & Crucifixion and not only was he never part of that, he persecuted Christians and was in part, responsible for some of their deaths.  Paul has to live with this stigma, but he doesn't have to allow it to render him useless. Paul admits himself, he has labored harder and done more than any of the other Apostles. Paul ends up being the greatest missionary of any Apostle and ends up writing three-quarters of the New Testament, Peter only has two books, James only has one. Maybe Paul used this stigma to his own advantage, maybe it was this stigma of "you're not an Apostle" that stirred him to labor that much more, not do nothing, what's your excuse?!