The thing I find most disturbing is that over the years I have concluded that people don´t want to hear the truth if it makes them realize they are wrong. This includes believers as well. You can give someone a biblical principle that applies directly to their situation and if it means they have to acknowledge that they are in violation of that principle and change, most of the time they will choose the path of least resistance. Sometimes, this choice is made in laziness other times it is made in direct rebellion and sin.
To be more specific, I have had to deal with the issue of discipline within the body. The subject seems to be taboo and may be one of the most ignored principles in the Word . I have found that most leaders in the body are toothless tigers who are unable to effect proper biblical discipline for the purpose of restoration, under any situation either because of ignorance of the subject or fear of reprisals in their church.
Both are poor excuses because until there is discipline there can't be restoration. I hate to discipline because I myself have a log in my own eye. Yet, that does not excuse me from the job description that God has called all pastors to fulfill, even as he called that young pastor Timothy.
2Ti 4:1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2Ti 4:2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
2Ti 4:4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
2Ti 4:5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
That is a hard call to fulfill. Who but Messiah has the right to judge?
Mat 7:1 "Do not judge so that you will not be judged.
Mat 7:2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.
Mat 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?
Mat 7:4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye?
Mat 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
There's that pesky log again. Say would you help me get it out of my eye? Unfortunately that is one of the most misquoted verses in the Bible. We are not supposed to judge any one to the point of condemnation but we are supposed to make judgments of observation. If we are observing some one's life, we have not condemned them we have just declared what they are already doing. Not only is this OK but it is our responsibility to that brother or sister. We just have to be careful that we have dealt with our own sins first then we "will see clearly to take the speck out of our brother's eye."
We are not allowed to abdicate our responsibility to our brother in the name of "judge not lest ye be judged."
Gal 6:1 Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.
There is a two fold obligation in these passages we are to check our own hearts first, then apply a little discipline to the seat of spiritual education. In other words we are to offer scriptural discipline, in love, to the one needing correction.
What parent in his or her right mind would say, "Because I am not perfect I will not discipline my child when it is needed." That would make as much sense as a Pastor saying to himself I have no right to teach my people the right and biblical path because I am not perfect in all my ways. Not only is that an abdication of his or her job description it is just a lousy excuse to not have to work on his own issues.
There are few people in the church world who want to either discipline or be disciplined. I find that when I come to them with an undeniable scriptural principle they are in blatant rebellion to, they find it easiest to bolt, go somewhere else and unfortunately end the relationship.
This has been my biggest frustration in the ministry. So many people are not good for their own word and when they are confronted with it or with God's Word, they dash, leaving nothing but the carnage of broken relationships and hearts. It reminds me of a practice that we used to do as kids, it was called dine and dash. When we realized the responsibility of the bill was too great we would dash leaving the bill on the table. We had a great meal that we simply didn't want to pay for. This is the mentality of many in the church today, feed me but don't expect anything in return. Well to be frank with you I am getting simply tired of people just walking out after they had their fill. I think it is perfectly reasonable for the one who prepared the meal to expect something in return. It's not for himself that he wants it but it is for the owner of the restaurant.
I acknowledge that I am far from perfect. But my thought is if I have fixed many good meals and have served well for a long time, am I not allowed to have an occasional meal that might not be perfect. Is it right to give up on all of our history together? Should we abandon the relationship without so much as a goodbye just because of one burned meal? It is not as though I went out to poison you or purposely wreck your meal. Then there are those meals that are good for you but might not be as tasty to your palate. You still need to eat good food even if it is not your favorite meal. If I was a coach you might not want to hear from me "give me 50 more push ups now". But if you want to get stronger, you must listen to your trainer. I am that trainer. As the trainer I am the servant who wants to see his team get stronger.
The congregants discipline the Pastor by just walking away under the guise of "God is leading me on" and we are just supposed to say "Have a great trip! I hope you find what your looking for." But when the Pastor confronts them, much like a coach, he has no right to interfere with what GOD has told them to do. I just don't buy it anymore. Leaving because of conflict is the cowardâ€™s way out and it is as unscriptural as any other sin.
This is the way we are to deal with conflict.
Mat 18:15 "If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
Mat 18:16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED.
Mat 18:17 "If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.
Mat 5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Mat 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee;
Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
This is how it is to be done in either case, if you have anything against your brother or if he has anything against you.
It is time to get back to these biblical principles in all circumstances, even in those circumstances which push us past our spiritual comfort zones. To not do so is to abdicate from our responsibility to live in harmony with our brethren.
Rom 12:18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
How is it that church hopping and running away from each other is considered an accepted method of reconciliation and seeking peace within the body? It is time that we act like the family that we are supposed to be and not some dysfunctional family that is unable to reconcile with one another because of petty differences. It is also time we accept the responsibility for our own actions and stop using God to endorse our agenda or sin.
Yours in Messiah Yeshua,
Rabbi Henry Morse BA, ADD, ADHD, OCD, Etc, Etc, Etc.