the weblog of Alan Knox

Now you’re meddling…

Posted by on Sep 14, 2007 in community, discipleship, fellowship | 19 comments

Growing up “in church”, I remember on occasion hearing a statement such as this: “Pastor, you stopped preaching and started meddling.” The statement was always followed by laughs and chuckles and exclamations about stepping on toes. But, that was usually the end of it. It was forgotten, left behind somewhere amid the neat rows of pews as the chandeliers were dimmed and the doors were locked.

But, what is meddling and is there a place for it among the church? This question came to my mind a few days ago when Kat (elder’s wife) mentioned it in this comment to my post called “Chrysostom on learning and doing“. (By the way, this post is not a response to Kat’s comment. Instead, Kat’s comment reminded me of our use of the word “meddle”.) According to one online dictionary, “meddle” means to “intrude in other people’s affairs or business; interfere unwantedly”.

I have a problem with this definition as it pertains to followers of Jesus Christ. “Interference” into one’s life by another believer should never be “unwanted”. We should not only desire other believers to “interfere” in our life, we should expect it.

If our brothers and sisters are not “interfering” in our lives we should be concerned. Are we closing ourselves off to the consideration and impact that others should have in our lives? Or, are our brothers and sisters passively allowing us to live our lives in isolation? Neither of these options are healthy for believers attempting to follow Christ together.

So, I would suggest, that “meddling” is not a valid concept between brothers and sisters in Christ. As we mature in Christ we need interaction with others through the Spirit. This interaction can come through exhortation and teaching, but also through admonition and rebuke. This is not meddling; this should be expected and welcomed.


19 Comments

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  1. 9-15-2007

    Alan, Yes. We should believe in this and embrace it, but it seems little known or practiced. Though I think the best place for it is among those who have come to love each other in the Lord, and are openly humble about their own lives, their struggles, failings, as well as their praises and ongoing petitions. That goes along with what you say about us following the Lord together through the Spirit.

    Good and helpful words.

  2. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  3. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  4. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  5. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  6. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  7. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  8. 9-15-2007

    Good points, Alan. I guess applying Galations 6:1 would keep up from “meddling”. When all is said and done, we need more burden-bearers and restorers than meddlers.
    Kat

  9. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  10. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  11. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  12. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  13. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  14. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  15. 9-15-2007

    Sorry–that should be “keep us from meddling”
    Kat

  16. 9-15-2007

    Good stuff. I think that our Christian culture of placing import on knowing certain key doctrines creates a culture where people feel meddled with and don’t like it because any challenge to their knowledge or their ability becomes something that cannot be had. If we have some doctrine “wrong” then we might not be what we need to be. Spiritual pride becomes an important “virtue” as opposed to spiritual humility.

  17. 9-15-2007

    Ted,

    Yes, love and humilit are necessary to accept and encourage and expect other believers to “interfere” with our lives.

    Kat,

    I like the phrases “burder-bearers” and “restorers” better than “meddlers” also.

    Bryan,

    Good insight. If our life with Christ is based on our knowledge, then when someone questions our knowledge (or even the way we are applying that knowledge), then we may feel that they are questioning our connection to Christ. Instead, we should all recognize that we need correction, rebuke, and admonition from time to time.

    -Alan

  18. 9-16-2007

    Kat,

    Great application of Gal. 6. I just taught from that chapter. I think the whole letter is an illustration of Paul’s point. He tell us that we should be bearing one-another burdens, and the fact that he is writing to them is showing them that he is bearing their burdens.

    I love the end… when he says, now stop it!

    God’s Glory,
    Lew

    The Pursuit Online Store: Gifts, Shirts, Clothes, Apparel, and More for thinking Christians

  19. 1-2-2014

    There’s a great story about the little country church somewhere in the South.  The pastor is 
    preaching along in the great hellfire and brimstone tradition and he’s condemning all sorts of 
    behaviors as sinful.  “Men, if you want to be right with God, you are going to have to quit 
    smoking cigars.”  Everybody yells Amen.  “You are going to have to stop smoking cigarettes.”  
    Again, everybody shouts Amen.  “You are going to have stop running around with women.”  
    Amen.  You are going to have give up that demon whiskey!  Again, the Amens ring out.  Then he 
    says, “And you are going to have to give up dipping snuff.”  The sanctuary gets very quiet, and a 
    little old lady with teeth stained yellow and a snuff can in her hand stands up and says, “Well, 
    Preacher, now you’ve done it.  You’ve quit preaching and done gone to meddling.”

    I’d heard this joke/story many times growing up, but I copied it this time from: http://thepresbytery.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/aaron-fulp-eickstaedt3.pdf