Metallic Pea

Frustrating People Since 1971.

Shame On You (and Me)

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‘But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.’  ~ I Corinthians 5:11

‘On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends.’

So go the protestations of a professing Christian in Jacksonville, Florida.  While I certainly can empathise with her desire that her sins remain concealed (don’t we all?), her situation reveals a host of ills in the Church to-day.  Namely, we have members who profess the Faith yet live lives hardly distinguishable from the heathen around us, many have a sadly anemic view of sin, and more than we would like to admit bristle at the idea that they are in any way accountable to anyone other than themselves.

Matthew 18 is not only a valuable tool for discipline and instruction–it is a mandate.  Churches particular to-day too often shy away from enforcing the authority God has given the elders.  (To be sure, many are so large that the sheer numbers of the congregation inflict a nearly insurmountable and oppressive anonymity precluding adequate accountability even where it is desired and sought.) 

As our ancestors knew well–shame is a powerful tool.  Perhaps we need to employ it a bit more than we do currently.  Of course, the end we seek is to gain repentance on the part of the offender and reclaim them into the fold, not embarrassment for embarrassment’s sake.  We can all pray for the lady mentioned in the story–and that we ourselves do not fall into the same trap the Enemy sets for us.  We can also give thanks that there are elders in Christ’s Church who view their authority with the seriousness it deserves. 

It’s not easy being on the business end of church discipline; yet, it certainly is no ecclesiastical picnic doling it out, either.

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Written by ninepoundhammer

December 19, 2008 at 12:36 pm

Posted in Christian Living

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