Right now, the church has a terrible reputation in American for being unloving and unkind to sinners. I mean, we all fall short of the glory of God, so we don’t want to put anyone out, right? Wrong.
In 1 Corinithians 1:6-8, we are to treat sin as a yeast that will infect the entire loaf of bread. “Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.”
This is personal for me. I’ve seen men cheat on their wives, BRING their girlfriends to church and still the church did not confront them. I’ve seen two church employees have an affair (one a pastor) and rather than confront the sin publicly and lovingly, the pastor swept it under the rug for legal reasons. The problem with that, besides the fact that it’s unbiblical, is other marriages started to be infected within the church. It didn’t go away. It spread.
My prayer for the church is that we would stop looking at the outside of people and start to judge the content of their character. When sin is present in the church, we have a moral obligation to confront our brother or sister, but we worry so much about offending, often we don’t deal and a splintered church is the result. Especially when there are victims of these sinners within the church.
“If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two sisters along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.…” Matthew 18:15-17
Why have we forgotten the last part of this Biblical advice? Why do we ignore sin and choose “not to judge?” The result of the above scenario is that a good woman left the faith because she was judged for her husband cheating and her “harsh words.” The husband is still there. Divorced a second time now.
I heartily believe God cares more about a soul than he does a bad marriage to a wayward spouse. I can testify that this woman tried desperately to keep her marriage together while her husband portrayed her as crazy and “controlling.” This friend doesn’t have anything to do with me or the church today. I remind her of what the church did to her, that they chose to believe her cheating husband over having mercy on her. They chose to blame her subtly for his sin.
I understand that the church is just people. And people are flawed. But I do wish that we would take confrontation more seriously and be more kind when someone is hurting. I know in this day and age where it’s offensive to have a separate women and men’s room, confrontation isn’t an easy subject. But it’s an important one. Souls are at stake.