I've started this blog post several times and wasn't exactly sure how to word it. I believe in being real and not shoving things under the rug; however, I think discretion is important too. So, I guess I'll leave it at if you know me in real life, you are aware of what I am talking about. If you don't know me in real life, you can just pray for healing and restoration for some folks who are in dire need of it.
It seems to be the in vogue thing lately in Christian circles to "not judge." The verse that states "judge not lest you be judged" has been twisted to mean, apparently, that believers can't call a sin a sin because - gasp- I could be judging someone. It's been made out to mean that since we all sin, nobody can point out sin or the fact someone is quickly traveling the road that way to anyone else.
However, the Bible is pretty plain on this topic -we are to recognize sin and call it what it is - not an issue or a problem or just ignore it all together. I've been reading the books of Paul and I am struck by the fact that we really should care more about each other than we do.
There is this fear of trespassing on someone else's business that keeps us silent when we should speak up. I'm not talking about people running around being busybodies and sticking their noses into what is truly not their business. But if we see a brother or sister that is starting down that path that we KNOW if wrong, if we truly love them in the Lord, shouldn't we say something?
I have read from II Corinthians through II Thessalonians in the past month, and in every book, it is abundantly clear that Paul cares deeply for the believers at these various churches. He cares about their welfare and he cares about their spiritual growth. He writes with a lot of tenderness, but he also is not afraid to speak a little truth into these believers' lives either.
Paul also cares how the believers are getting along with each other. Over and over again, he speaks of unity among th believers and gives specific ways to achieve that. Specifically in Colossians 3:12-16 tells believers to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; to bear with each other. In verse 16 i says to "with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another..."
This leads me to the fact of people, particularly people we respect, that fall into agregious sin. It really isn't helpful to say, well, no sin is worse than another. While any sin will keep you from heaven and any sin seperates you from God, that doesn't mean that all sins have the same level of consequences. I'm sure David sinned on numerous occasions before the whole debacle with Bathsheba. However, God did not send a prophet to him to point out his sin and lack of repentence until that time.
Certain sins have greater and farther reaching consequences. It's just a fact of life. The more influence you have, the farther those consequences ripple out, too.
However, calling out sin and admonishing a brother or sister in Christ is not about just pointing out sin. The whole point is restoration and reconciliation.
If I saw you had run your car into the ditch, I wouldn't come up and start lecturing you on your driving and how I was a much better driver than you were. Neither would I drive by because I feared that you would feel I was judging your driving if I stopped to help. No - I would pull over and do the dirty work of helping you up and out of the ditch. There would be repair work to be done to set you and your car back on the road, but that would be the goal.
Paul also warns the person trying to help a fellow believer to have a look in his or her own heart. "Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted." Galatians 6:1
But this doesn't mean that we are to shirk our responsibility in caring for each other because in the very next verse it says, "Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ."
Clearly, we have a responsibility to care enough to encourage, admonish,exhort and even keep each other accountable each other along this journey.
Of course, then we have to be willing to restore someone to fellowship. Scripture says that God removes our sins as far as the east is from the west. That means I can't continually cast up someone's sins after they have repented. God forgave them and wiped the slate clean. Who am I to do any less?
The person who falls spectacularly will probably beat themselves up enough for everyone, but again, Paul's letters to New Testament believers state that Godly sorrow brings repentance, and repentence brings restoration. On the other hand, worldly sorrow just results in death - maybe not in the body but in the spirit and emotions. I'm sure you've seen that played out more than once.
My point in all of this is that maybe some of the spectacular falls from grace we've seen of prominent Christians would not have happened if those close to that person had cared enough to take the risk of speaking into that person's life. If I am headed on a one way path to disaster, I certainly hope someone cares enough about me to step into my path. Even I wasn't very happy about it at the time, I'm sure I would thank you later!
~ Blessings, Bronte