BENEVOLENT DETACHMENT

Benevolent detachment. I define this as a life skill where I am kind to people who are
disagreeable, but I detach from them socially to avoid their disagreeableness. The Apostle Paul
lays this principle open and it hurts. Paul says he is free from all men. But he is not free
because he is a benevolent detacher. From the highly religious to the pagan revelers Paul
became all things to all people to save some. “All for the sake of the gospel, so that he may
become a fellow partaker of the gospel.”

What?! As I practice benevolent detachment I can be at peace with all men with relative ease.
After all I am not a jerk and I do pray for them. But Paul disciplined his body like an Olympic
athlete “making my body a slave so that after I have preached to others I myself will not be
disqualified.”

Ouch. Just give me more grace. Then Paul warns us. If you do not put-up boundaries, you
must use caution to not fall into sin. These sins are pretty serious: idolatry, fornication,
grumblings, doubting and lack of faith. “Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed that
he does not fall.”

I would tell Paul, “you dive into all kinds of uncomfortable people.” You deny my boundary
setting while you shared the life of the gospel and denied yourself to gain a spiritual gold
medal. But then you warn against the traps of sin because we share with sinners. Is Paul saying,
“live the message of the gospel but it is bad out there?” “Is that right Paul?” “Yup.” (in Greek
of course)

I will have to deny my benevolent detachment. How? Trust God. Say the answer with me in 1
Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will
not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the
way of escape also, so that you may be able to endure it.

by Steve Sagué, Elder

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