Tuesday, April 15, 2008

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.