You are looking at a mother and her sons (Isaac, me, and Josiah)...three people who are full of faults, foibles, quirks, sins, thoughtless deeds, deep thoughts, and in some areas we each one possess more than a fair share of talent.
As parents, mine and Tim's relationship with our boys has been tested and tried this past year, and all while dealing with profound challenges and transition in our lives, while planning our daughter's wedding, while pouring out our hearts in the gospel, while swimming around the fishbowl of being a ministry family. It doesn't matter whether the fishbowl is small or large, a fishbowl is a fishbowl, and we live in one.
Tim and I have had to put up with criticism from one or two regarding our parenting, our personality, our words, and probably even our animals. (!!) I would not be a bit surprised if even our poodle's misbehavior was attributed to our emphasis on the gospel of grace. The scrutinization has been excruciatingly petty at times, and at other times it has been used by God to bring adjustment.
Bottom line? We just can't seem to be able to force anyone or any creature behave as it ought. How utterly inept, no?
Well, my answer to that, and the real point of this blog post, is that "those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel." Now I realize the original context of this verse quoted was to validate the idea that some men will make their living by serving the church. Still yet, the logic holds up - those who preach the sufficiency of Christ will be challenged to live it out in the secret place of relationship. Those who preach the finished work of Christ better be ready to deal with the "togetherness" of that finished work's reality.
Don't preach the gospel until you are willing to walk it out in in very real and sacrificial ways. Your opinion can be your version of the perfect world, and there are no real relationships in a perfect world. The gospel itself has no context outside relationships. God wanted relationship with us, and went to the ultimate length to make it possible. We, in turn, do the same in each and every significant relationship we have.
People can be so inappropriate. I could very well be the princess of inappropriate. No matter. The worst inappropriate-ness there is, is to imagine yourself to be superior.
At the most basic level, a Christian is to be an imitator of God, and thus we most certainly can give something akin to divine grace to others. We can be a conduit of a small amount of undeserved blessing, if you will. I call it "manifesting the faithful love of Christ to the ones we care about." Nothing in this world will mature you and perfect you like living the gospel out in relationship will do in you.
"The Kingdom offends our sense of propriety because it's filled with inappropriate people. But, that's its greatest Gospel glory." ~Thomas Chalmers~