References used: Rom. 12; I Cor. 7:27-35
We had to have a healing and open discussion about a local tragedy in our assembly. I edited the content to protect the specific identity of those involved.
This time was very good, healing and instructional. Some very difficult issues had to be addressed and some of those are listed below along with any scriptures we discussed concerning them:
- General admission to our lack of intimate involvement in each others lives.
- How this may have effected this specific issue, due to not being more verbal of our love and acceptance, regardless of how clearly it was received or not.
- Some people isolate themselves and make themselves difficult to approach due to an inwardly perceived need to protect themselves from intimacy with others by erecting a social wall.
- Question as to whether or not we should invite the one in sin to church functions so that they will not feel rejected by us as a group –
“And if anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take note of that person; don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed. Yet don’t treat him as an enemy, but warn him as a brother. May the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” ~ 2 Thess. 3:14-16
- What affirmative action can or should take place?
“But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a reviler, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what is it to me to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.” ~ 1 Cor. 5:11-13
- Not beating ourselves up but allowing God to use us towards reconciliation via prayer, fasting and direct communication as He leads. (words seasoned with Grace we receive from Him in our times of intercession).
- Not being condemning of the one in sin.
- If anyone see a brother overtaken in a fault…
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” ~ Gal. 6:1
Following our session I had to do some study on this verse because it stuck in my mind that the actual meaning of the words were not as straight forward as one would anticipate. As it turns out I was correct. Paul’s wording here speaks of not a determined, hardened, sinner. Instead, the idea is of someone who has fallen into sin, finding themselves trapped in a place they never thought they would be. The word “overtaken” contains the idea of falling. It is not the deliberate, the planned, aspect of sin that is stressed here, but rather the unwitting element. “A mistake rather than misdeed is the force of the word, though without absolution of responsibility.” – Ridderbos, cited in Morris.
If a someone is overtaken in any trespass: Paul recognizes that there may be those among the Christians in Galatia who have been overtaken in a trespass. Paul doesn’t seem to exclude the overtaken one from the brethren, yet they should never stay in the place of being overtaken.
Unfortunately this is not the condition of our current issue, but ours requires a more direct confrontation of the sin.
So far the scriptural mandate has not been followed strictly and so therefore will require some direct guidance from God as to our next steps. Please pray for guidance in this issue.
Read: I Cor. 5 & Matt. 18:11-20