It was a moment we’ve tried for many years to live down. The entire Minor High School Marching Tiger band was out of step.
It really wasn’t our fault. We normally marched to 4/4 or common time and this was easy: left, right, left, right. But our band director decided we should play and march to the “Mission Impossible” theme whose time signature is 5/4. I was in the drumline and our job was to keep the rhythm moving, but even we percussionists found it impossible to march to “Mission Impossible.” Our director finally threw in the towel.
The Apostle Paul discussed some “haustafel,” or “house rules,” as our German friends would say, in 1 Thessalonians. He explained that if we’re in God’s house, the church, we have a special responsibility to treat one another with respect and kindness. Part of that responsibility is to warn those who are unruly (5:14). Greek teacher John Polhill explained unruly literally means disorderly or out of step. When Christians get out of step, it’s the responsibility of the church to encourage them to get back in step with kingdom work.
I’m convinced we all get out of step sometimes. I recall several times when I urged deacons to do ministry a certain way and they demurred, suggesting another way might be better. Normally they had the experience of being in the church longer than me and knowing the people better. But I would pout a bit when I didn’t get my way. But the men were gracious when I came to my senses and said, “I was wrong and you were right.”
And I’ve known many people over the years who got out of step due to personal relationships that went sour.
One biographer of President Clinton noted that the former president is gracious and out-going. If he were in a room of 100 people and was told “somebody here doesn’t like you,” it would be his mission to find that person and win them as his friend. Now psychology would say this might be due to his being a son of an alcoholic father or the like, but I think this is a great mindset for every Christian. It should be our goal to befriend everybody in our church! We are family and need to live in harmony as the people of God.
No one enjoys confrontation, but sometimes it’s required of church leaders to go to some who are out of step and encourage them to get in step. We do so not haughtily, but with humility and with love. Our mindset must be that everyone is salvageable and our spiritual family will be better when we live in harmony.