v 20 Dear brothers and sisters, don’t be childish in your understanding of these things. Be innocent as babies when it comes to evil, but be mature in understanding matters of this kind.
The issue in the church at Corinth, which was not being handled maturely, was over the use of the gift of tongues – the ability to use a heavenly language in prayer and worship. There was a time quite recently in the wider Church when the use of this gift was misunderstood, or in some cases even forbidden. With the passage of time, and better teaching on the subject, there is greater acceptance of it and a more mature understanding when it is used. Paul has to counsel the Corinthians about maturity in accepting the use of the gift, indeed his expression ‘don’t be childish ‘ comes across as very strong doesn’t it! But when it comes to things that are genuinely evil, he suggests they should not even be thinking about them – stay innocent of them!
His advice to us would be, I suspect, focus on what is good and important. So here is a challenge to your thinking this week. What is good and really important in Church life? Opinions on that will differ I imagine, but let me suggest three:
Spreading the good news that Jesus is a Saviour who rescues us from the eternal consequences of sin and reconciles us to our loving Creator.
Expressing the love of God to all in our community.
Living in holiness of life and in loving relationships with the family of God.
NOW – you add your priorities.