What Should I Think When I Hear of Sin in the Church?

1. I should mourn (1 Cor. 5:1-2). I mourn because of the shame that is brought upon God’s holy name. I mourn because of the stumbling block such sin is in the path of unbelievers. I mourn because of the damage to the body of Christ. I mourn for the families affected by the sin—families are never exempted from such suffering. I mourn because of the destruction that such sin produces in the lives of those deceived by it.

2. I should reject the temptation to gossip. Prior to the the enactment of church discipline, if another person is not part of the problem or part of the solution, I am gossiping if I share information with them that they do not have. I say, “prior to the enactment of church discipline,” because one of the purposes for church discipline is that believers would “hear and fear” (1 Tim. 5:20). What about people who already have that information? Eph. 5:12 says, “It is a shame even to talk of those things which are done of them in secret.” That means I do not discuss the details of sin with others.

If someone is offering to share information with me about a situation where believers have fallen into sin, I ask them if they think I am part of the problem or part of the solution to this situation. If they say no, I then inform that that it would be gossiping to pass that information on.

3. I pray for the repentance of those who have sinned—a full 180 degree turn around—and restoration to Christ, first, and then to the Body, second. Sin in enslaving (Rom. 6:16). Those involved need to be freed. Sin in destructive (Gal. 6:7). It takes a long time to rebuild after the destruction of sin in a life.

4. I pray for grace to be given to those who are involved in Galatians 6:1 restoring those overtaken in a fault. The human heart is extremely devious, and the enemy likes to use every opportunity to cause others to fall, especially those who are involved in restoring the fallen.

5. I pray that God would protect me from dwelling upon the sin and would keep me from stumbling in my mind.

6. I pray that God would increase my fear of Him so that I would always turn aside from evil. I recognize that apart from the grace of God, I too could be enslaved by sin.

7. I pray for the family, immediate associates, subordinates, and others directly affected by the fallout of the sin. The devil will be tempting them to be bitter, hateful, angry, resentful in their thoughts as well as their actions toward these people. If it is immorality, the devil will do his worst to destroy the family of those involved. I pray for God’s protection, comfort, sustaining grace to surround and support those who have been betrayed and wronged.


Tara said…
Thank you, Philip, for sharing this.
Anonymous said…
Dear Dr. Phil;
I found this blog from Geroge Gardei's blog. This is even better than your Revivalist column. I'm going to put you on RSS feed.

This exhortation is very timely and IMHO much needed in our divided church world of today. As usual you cover the waterfront thoroughly with the scriptural applications in terms of our appropriate reactions.

But there is one side of this subject that I hear very few commentators mention. I would be intersted to see you develop the concept of the Church Family as an emotional quench to divisiveness and evil speaking.

The Scriptural admonition that I'm thinking of is in 1 Tim 5:1-2 the one where we are to view Older women as mothers, elder men as fathers and contemporaries as our brothers and sisters. How would I feel if it was my mother who was taken in a snare of sin? Or my father? Or a sister? Or a son?

Over the years I have found much help from careful exposistions such as yours, but I struggled with many things. Then more recently the Lord put things into an emotional familial context for me. Now I can't hear evil speaking without inward pain.

I'm sure you know that emotional reactions trump reason for most of us. When God gets the bridle on our emotions then we have something good.

I wish someone of your caliber would explore the logical and practical implications of the familial aspect of the church. Especially as it should relate to the divisiveness that is such a big part of Satan's assault on us today.

Thank you

Dave Withe
Liz said…
Thank you for your family's commitment to the Bible and its Author.
Dear Phil,

May God bless and use these guidelines to help us in our thoughts and reactions.

I believe they portray the Biblical message in Micah 6:8 & numerous other passages including the New Testament. No one is above "falling" in this life, but
God will keep us if we "do justly, love mercy & walk humbly with God" .

Thank you for upholding the Biblical path,

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