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.