“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?” First Peter 4:17 (KJV)
I have tried my best to be transparent on this blog. I acknowledge that many times I have felt that I was not being transparent enough. The main reasons for that lack of transparency in my life are when my shortcomings involve others, the fear of being judged harshly, what people will say, shame and the fear of rejection. Since the death of my first wife, close to six years ago, my sins have been exposed. I have learned that Satan will attack you in those areas where your needs are not being met. I have had great victories, but also shameful falls. In this process, however, I have learned powerful truths that I am sure will help me to help others.
Am I saying that God wants us to sin so that we can learn some things? No, it’s our pride that gets us to these shameful places of sin. The church is filled with pride; much of that pride is coming out of the pulpit. Pastors are bringing attention to themselves and it is sad to say, but their little “filthy rags” acts of righteousness have become the very source of their pride.Proverbs 16:18tells us:
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (KJV)
We learn a few verses, fast a few days, do a few good things, get some extra members in our church, get a larger building and next thing you know we are as proud as Satan. One of the greatest medicines against pride is to be humbled by the shame of sin. Our own sin reminds us that we are nothing without God and that we need his mercy every day.
In this article I want to deal with how to deal with sin amongst us Christians. We felt comfortable to speak about our sin before we knew Christ, but we must understand that there is still sin in our lives, we have not arrived! Sin is what separates us from God; it is what will affect our worship and our pursuing loving God above all things. Sin cannot be ignored, it cannot be overlooked and it must be dealt with. First Corinthians 2:15tells us: “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” It is obvious that things need to be judged. However, I am afraid that we are Biblically incorrect in how to properly judge sin. At the end of the day, we are causing more damage, more hurt, more confusion and more sin amongst us.
These are Biblical ways of dealing with the sin amongst us. The Bible tells us inGalatians 6:1
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (KJV)
- We must be in the Spirit in order to deal with the sin of our brother/Sister. The Bible specifies here that only those who are spiritual qualified to deal with the sin of others. This means that we must have an attitude of love. The spiritual person does not go around judging everyone like a Police Officer for sin: the spiritual person first walks in love. Beloved, the Bible tells us in First Corinthians 13 that “Love never fails!” By dealing with sin in the flesh we are actually making matters worse. If you ignore the sin you are sinning: if you deal with sin in the flesh, you are sinning also because everything that is a violation of God’s Word is indeed sin.
- Our emphasis should not be in confronting, but in restoring. The Bible tells us to “restore” not to confront. When we speak about restoring, we are talking about bringing somebody back to a certain place of blessing; the emphasis is on the individual’s wellbeing. When we confront, the emphasis is on the sin and many times on us as we confront sin. Confronting sin is about us; restoring the person in sin is about him/her. I have actually experienced what it is to be in sin, be confronted by my sin and be left behind like a leper. Obviously the confrontation of sin is necessary; my point is when that is all we do and we don’t go any further. The heart should always be restoration. We have become experts in ignoring sin, but we are also, in some of our faith communities, experts in confronting sin with little restoration taking place. We then proceed to judge that brother or sister for the rest of his life. In First Corinthians, we see the case of a man who had sex with his Stepmother: this was his father’s wife. In First Corinthians, the church was ignoring this sin, so the Apostle Paul stepped in and judged the situation. The man was un-repentant, so Paul tells the church to kick him out of the church. The church did, they confronted the sin; however, this same man repented, but the church refused to restore him; so again Paul needed to step in and inSecond Corinthians 2:5-11
“But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (KJV)
- We must be humble as we address the sin of others. Beloved, we must be humble when we are addressing somebody else’s sin. When we arrogantly deal with the sin of others, as if we are better than them, we give the devil legal authority to tempt us in that area. That is the reason many ministers fall in the very same area they arrogantly preach against. Addressing the sin is not what gets you in trouble; it is addressing the sin with arrogance as if you are immune to fall in that very same area. If we are standing it’s because of God; if we fall it’s because we took our eyes off God.Jude 1:24 tells us:
“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling…” (KJV)
It amazes me to see pastors placing themselves as examples when addressing sin; it is a dangerous place to be. I believe that is the main reason why God has exposed much of my own personal mess; to humble me and to remind me how little I really am without Him. I don’t know if I will ever walk in the office of a pastor again after family issues, going through a divorce and personal issues, but I can tell you that I will do my very best to seek to restore my brother and my sister over confronting their sin. Does that mean that I am ignoring the sin? Absolutely not; there can never be restoration without addressing the sin, without repentance and without the acceptance that God has forgiving us. We must find pleasure in restoring our brother and sister over just confronting, judging and rejecting.
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.” 2 Peter 3:14 (KJV)