In Theory, Not in Practice

Matthew 18:15-17 ESV

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence 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, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”

Have you ever tried to do this? If so, how did it go? In my experience, it didn’t go so well. Sometimes it did, but most times it didn’t. For this is not something that is generally practiced today within the gatherings of the church (or what is falsely being called “church”). For one, from what I have observed, most people will not confront others who have sinned against them, at least not in a kind and loving manner and with the end goal of reconciliation.

What I have often found to be the case is that they would rather cut those people who have sinned against them out of their lives rather than to speak the truth in love to them about their sins with the end goal that the others will repent and will turn from their sins and that there will be reconciliation. For it is easier for them to gossip about the offenders and to vent to other people about the wrong done to them rather than, in love, to help those who have sinned against them to have changed hearts and lives.

Now, to a certain degree, I sympathize with them, for it doesn’t always go so well if you do lovingly confront others with their sins against you. Sometimes they will get angry with you, or they will deny that they have done you wrong. And we do need to make certain that we do not accuse others wrongfully of what they did not do. I have had that done to me more than once, kind of like Job’s friends did to him. So, we do have to have real evidence that a sin actually occurred and that we were not mistaken.

But in cases where there were no witnesses and the others deny they did anything wrong, then it is really hard to prove you were actually sinned against, like in cases of emotional and mental abuse which leave no physical scars, and so there is no proof of wrongdoing. And then there are cases where the one doing the sinning is in a protected status, such as a man who gives a lot of money to the church. No one will go against him, even if they know the evil he is doing and continues to do to others.

And even if those who have sinned admit their sin, and they do not deny it, but they also are those who sin habitually without any genuine repentance, if they will not repent, and if they will not change their wicked ways, if you try to tell a pastor, for instance, hoping he will do something, chances are pretty good he will do nothing. For confronting sin in sinful human beings is not something most want to do today, for they are more concerned about not offending the sinners than they are about doing what is right.

Now, I am certainly not saying that no one is doing what this passage teaches, but from my experience I have not witnessed much of this being done or being done right, and sometimes the one who is trying to confront others ends up being treated as though he is the one sinning, instead of the other way around. And, again, this goes largely to the fact that it is not a popular thing to do today to confront anyone in their sins, and it has to do with those “protected” individuals, too, who no one will touch.

So, ideally this is the way it should be done, but we don’t live in an ideal world, not even within the gatherings of the church (or what is called “church”). And so much of the church has now gone the way of the world, and rather than confronting sinners with their sin they are placating them in their sin, or they are ignoring their sin, or they are telling them that their sins no longer matter to God. And so they are literally giving their adherents permission to continue living in sin, even knowing they are hurting others.

So, we live in a mixed up world where those who are doing right are often accused of wrongdoing while those who are doing evil are often lifted up and approved and even praised. The truly righteous are looked down upon while the truly evil are applauded. And this isn’t just in the world this is happening, but this is happening within the gatherings of the church (or what is called “church”). There is so much crooked stuff that goes on behind the scenes in a lot of “churches.” And many pastors are not men of God but they are charlatans building their earthly kingdoms.

Again, I am not saying that all congregations or that all people professing faith in Jesus Christ are like this, but from what I have observed from many years of experience in multiple locations, and from what I have listened to and read in people’s sermons and in the books they write, and from many years of serving in areas of ministry within the gatherings of the church, including being a “church planter,” along with my husband, twice, and from attending their training classes, this is the norm, not the exception.

But regardless of what others do or don’t do, we should always do what is right, even if we get mistreated in return, or even if we end up being treated like the “bad guy” while the truly bad guys get away with their evil, which happens a lot these days. But we should exercise good judgment in this, and if a woman has been sinned against by a man, I believe she should not try to confront that man on her own. But there again, she may not get any volunteers to go with her, either, or even have others who will believe her.

[Jn 3:19-20; 2 Thes 2:9-10; 2 Thes 3:1-2; Jas 1:19-21; 3 Jn 1:10; Matt 7:21-23; Matt 15:18-20; Mk 7:20-22; Lu 6:45; Lu 13:26-28; Jn 5:28-29; Rom 1:29-32; Rom 2:6-10; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11; Heb 3:12; 1 Pet 3:12; 1 Jn 1:5-10; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
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