This is No Place for Cowards

Thom,

What wonderful, and very convicting words. I have to agree good people sometimes do bad things. I have struggled and at times still struggle with being the judge, it is so much easier so see the speck in another person’s eye and not the board in my own. For years I denied my struggle with same sex attraction and pointed fingers at those who fell or gave in because in reality it they were simply mirroring what I was feeling and I wouldn’t confront my own sin. I didn’t want to look in the mirror. As I pointed the finger I tried to ignore the 3 fingers pointing back at me. You are right when you said Jesus was no coward, but admit I have been. Fortunately, He pursued me and I gave in to Him, and now through the struggle I have learned to see the board in my own eye. I am constantly reminded of the verse in Galatians 6:1 where we are told to gently restore the fallen brother. I thankful Christ restored me in my falls, and has allowed me to share with others, and walk along with those struggling, helping them up in times of need. I pray that none of us ever take for granted the grace we have been given, but look for opportunities to share it.

Bret – BK

I can relate to about all of it Thom.

I think you are dead-on with the way you point to God and His ways (faith, hope, love) as the solution to dealing with life’s struggles, no matter what they are.

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I have respect for your work at helping others by use of your knowledge and skills.

You obviously see through the cover-ups that are routinely practiced in so many lives.

You are making a stand for what you know is right, and leaning on God for strength.

You are telling the truths of your story in hopes it helps others.

That is all honorable.

I’m guessing it can be a thankless battle at times, as are all acts of faith.

If my guess is correct, you are not alone in that. What you are doing matters. And I for one, thank you for your efforts.

Ok, I agree with what you are saying but, isn’t “love”, both God’s and ours, more complex.

God disciplines those he loves (Hebrews)

And because He loved his temple, he turned over the tables and chased the money changers out.

and it is pretty clear that He continues to love the church and has instructed us to be real with people who may be only feigning repentance.

When you say, “That you . . . judge . . . one another? That you . . . condemn . . . one another? That you . . . shame . . . one another? That you . . . blame . . . one another? That you . . . reject . . . one another? That you . . . remove . . . one another? That you . . . ignore . . . one another. No. Love, ” I think your setting up some pretty false distinctions.

We are not to judge, but we are to be discerning.
We are not to condemn, but we are to “destroy speculations” and root out false ideas and the peddlers of those ideas.
We are not to shame or blame one another, but when people feel shame and blame, it is not always because of us.
We are not to exactly reject one another, but the disciples were instructed to shake the dust off their feet, and Paul did say that there were those who needed to be “rejected” from fellowship in the church.
And, yes, we are commanded to occasionally “remove” people. (1 Corinthians chapter 5)
And then even to “ignore” them.

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A great article on this can be found at:
http://bible.org/seriespage/church-discipline-taking-sin-seriously-1-cor-51-13

Again I think I agree with most of what you are saying, just feel that you haven’t included all of the picture.

Have you ever read any books by MarK Dever?

Jay

Jay,

I think we are pretty much in agreement. This specific post presupposes that the person who is involved in sexual sin is truly repentant. I know that is not always the case. I believe that where repentance is being demonstrated — even if the struggle itself continues and perhaps a fall occurs while the struggler pursues freedom — then we, as Christians should respond with truth and compassion and a great deal of patience.

I do agree that sometimes church discipline is necessary. I have been through it myself. While I believe it is sometimes enacted hastily and that rarely does much follow-up occur to determine whether the discipline has been effective in waking up and restoring the sinner, it is a Biblical means of dealing with repetitive sin that someone is not addressing. Indeed, sometimes sinners embrace their sin and refuse to deal with it at all. In this case, a church has little choice.

But . . . I think we should err on the side of love. Church discipline is a last resort and great caution should be exercised. For some strugglers, when the church door is closed, they have no-where else to turn. Too often, leadership uses church discipline to protect a flock that is far better equipped than they may believe, as they find themselves dealing with these issues in their own lives or in the lives of others.

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I think in the entire context of the blog — the 90-some-odd posts — I’ve tried to include all of the picture, yet it continues to unfold as I learn more and more from those who read and respond.

I’ll check out the link to your article and Mark Dever’s works.

Thanks for your well-expressed comments.

Thom

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