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A Bit of How To. Unscrambling Judgment Part 8

photo credit: bloomsberries via photopin cc
photo credit: bloomsberries via photopin cc

Do not judge lest you be judged. (Matthew 7:1 NASB)

Yesterday I talked a bit about how Church discipline has played out in my life. Let’s take a few minutes and just ponder the other side of this Church Discipline.

I also know many people who have been hurt, pretty badly, by Church Discipline gone wrong. I know folks who have left the Church and walked away from whatever relationship they had with God because men tried to control and manipulate them.

There are many who walk away at the first sign of conflict because they do not want to deal with the thing that God is poking in them through the agency of Church discipline. In my own life it took years in some cases before I finally surrendered, and dealt with some of my issues. It was not until I heard it from a voice I could trust.

There are three (at least – feel free to add more below) things we require in order to exercise helpful discipline.

  • Courage – It takes guts to confront things in people's lives.
  • Grace – If we just jump in with guns blazing we will do more harm that good.
  • Trust – In order for any correction to hit its target, there needs to be a trust relationship.

Clearly, there are times when Church leaders must act to protect the flock when these elements are not in place, and this is important too.

So how do we do it. How do we love folks enough to stir up the courage, grace and trust required to help them grow or to bring them into a restored relationship, either with the body or with Christ Himself?

When we as church leaders or simply as good Christian brothers and sisters, jump immediately to “turn him over to satan” and forget the part about “first take the log out of your own eye” we will run into big trouble in short order.

It comes down to one very big issue.

Are you, church leader, trying to exercise control in someone else’s life?

OR

Are you trying to rescue one who is unknowingly headed for a precipice?

We must in all our dealings, including, and perhaps especially, church discipline exercise all the “One Anothers.”

So get yourself a “plankectomy” and then you can be of some use to the body of Christ. [Tweet This]

Jesus would love to help with that.

I know there is so much more we could talk about here, like walking through Matthew 18’s model for how to correct offenses. But that is for anther time.

Ben

I hope these ponderings help.

See you again soon.

Ben

0 thoughts on “A Bit of How To. Unscrambling Judgment Part 8

  1. Larry Who

    But of course, one of the problems we often run into is defining who are the Church leaders. Are we talking only about the pastors, elders, and deacons of a certain church body? Or are we also including those leaders the Lord may send as a part of His Church universal?

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Ah yes Larry - good point - I believe that interbody this works without the hierarchy if the courage, grace, and in particular trust are in place. I have not always been a big fan of church structure as we know it. I am currently part of an elder board of wonderful guys who i trust to speak into my life. I have, in times past been in relationships with folks - not based on structure, but on trust, where we could speak into each others lives.

      According to Matt 18, and even this passage, i think the intention is peer to peer for starters and the "church" should only get involved where relationship fails.

      Clearly there is more to this than meats the eye.

      thanks for chiming in bro.

      Reply
  2. Debbie

    Mr. Ben, I loved the three things required and also the need to check and see if it's only a matter of controlling or a genuine concern and desire to rescue. Do you think it should involve more than one person seeing the concern? God bless you and thank you for helping us!

    Reply
    1. Ben Nelson

      Boy Deb - that is a great question. Here is the way I see it. If i am close enough to someone to have some level of trust, I should stir up as much courage as i can, and broach the subject with humility and care.

      If I at that point get a real knee jerk reaction - a 'what are you talking about' kind of response - i might at that point seek another to go with me to approach the subject.

      Basically - I would follow Jesus' instructions in Matthew 18 for dealing with offenses. If I bring others in too soon, it could undermine my position of trust with my brother.

      Now That is a pretty blanket answer, there is probably tons of finessing you would need to do based on the specific situation.

      Danny Silk, who wrote the wonderful book "Culture of Honor" talks about confronting some things as though the secret sin is like a bucket of paint, and you want to get the issue solved having spread the paint to as few people as possible.

      Does that make sense?

      Thanks as always Deb.

      Ben

      Reply
      1. Debbie

        Yes It helps! Thank you so much for taking the time with me! I could see where it would be better the fewer people involved. God bless you!

        Reply
  3. cshowers

    Excellent teaching Ben... As a leader in the church, (and even before I was a leader in the church) the question I always ask myself before I confront a sin issue in someone's life, is will I be speaking to the person in anger or frustration? Or will I be speaking the truth to the person in love? People don't respond well to condemnation (I sure didn't), but if the person knows that you love them, and that love shines through as you confront their sin, they are more willing to receive it.

    If I cannot speak to someone in love, then I have a plank in my eye that must be removed, and I am not the one to confront this person's sin, unless and until that plank is removed, and I can speak to him/her in love.

    Thanks so much for this exceptional series Ben, it is so vital to the church.

    In Christ's love,
    Cheryl

    Reply
  4. jaels

    More good stuff, Ben. Yes--first you build a trusting relationship; you absolutely need to know someone before you start speaking into their life. What's really cool, is when we get to a point in our walk where we have sufficient faith in Jesus, and courage to be vulnerable--so that we can ask someone if they'll agree to be the person we can be "accountable to". I was thrilled when this worked so well for me in the last year--a sister and I made the agreement, and at some point in time she spoke to me about daily Bible reading. She knew I was getting great teaching from a couple pastors--but discerned that I wasn't reading the Word for myself. I remember that I was shocked at first (not in a bad way), thinking she must be able to see through the computer screen--but I knew she spoke truth: I had lapsed in that area. Because I was the one who initiated the "accountability deal", I had no choice but to fess up, and thank her. And now, I don't miss a day in the Word--I actually have 2 Bibles I'm reading from (one is the chronological Bible), and I truly look forward to that reading time (especially when I need to "calm down" and get grounded). I was so blessed that God brought her into my life, because she's the last person on the planet who would be judgmental and harsh--she's totally loving and gentle; and in this instance, she made great effort to say, "if this isn't from God, please ignore it".

    As you can see, I have my computer back--huge blessings all around. And here's my question: are you familiar with the Spiritual Warfare Bible (author: Charisma)? If so, would you recommend it?? Thanks, see you later--

    Reply

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