How a church responds to sinfulness can Make or Break a Church. We need to call sin; well sin. Don't shy away from it. Tough love. Trust. Giving Grace and forgiveness. Using discernment.
One of Jesus' first messages was "Repent ...for the kingdom of heaven is near." (Matt. 4:17)
Of course people cite "Judge not, lest ye be judged"(Matt.7:1) but forget context ... it talks about taking care of yourself first, then helping your brother out. Elsewhere we are told in James, (James 5:19-20) "that if anyone should wander from the truth and someone bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." And that ultimately we're to judging the angels (1 Cor. 6:3). Elders are called to shepherd the flock and take care of the sheep.
What does this have to do with dealing with sin and the church's reaction?
When a sin happens (Whether immorality or lying etc) we help the person to repent. (The Matt 18 principle (Matt18: 15-20)comes to mind).
One of the most famous stories of dealing with sin comes from the Adulterous Woman
Found in John 8:1-11. And there is the encounter with the Samaritan Woman at the well (John 4:1-42) In both of these encounters Jesus already knew their sinfulness .... The women knew as well. Jesus told the adulterous woman in vs. 11 to leave your life of sin ... The Woman at the well ... He told her everything she did and offered her living water.
Sometimes people already know they messed up, sinned ... and so don't need to be told about it and rubbed in their face but rather told "Go and Sin no more ..." We're not endorsing their sinfulness but offering them mercy, forgiveness, and Grace - the very thing that was offered to us.
As I read God's Word there is only ONE UNFORGIVABLE SIN (And no it isn't Divorce as some in the pats would of made you think of)
LUKE 12:10, "And everyone that says a word against the Son of Man, that will be forgiven; But he that blasphemes against The Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. (Also found in MARK 3:29 MATTHEW 12: 31-32)
In Galatians 5 it talks about the Fruit of the Spirit. I'm thankful for that. We know who won't inherit the Kingdom. (Gal.5:19-20) (Rev.21:8)
So we strive to be Jesus' hands and feet to a broken world. A world where divorce, broken relationships, sex outside of marriage happens and pregnancy outside of marriage.
So how is the Church to reaction? Simple: Like Jesus would. Go and sin more.
Sometimes things can't always be fixed and we have to be patient and point people to Jesus. People have to repent. For the young woman who is expecting a newborn (due to sex outside of marriage), she doesn't need to be condemned as much as pointed to repent, given forgiveness as it was
balancing it for our young people to recognize this isn't what God intended)
Offer support for the new child. (Afterall it isn't the child's fault) and speak of things such as Second Virginity ..(see this article
It takes courage for future single parent to even seek out help from family, let alone Church Family. May we be the Church God calls us to be.
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