Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oh where to begin....

Well I have purposely not said much about the "situation" at Calvary on my blog for two main reasons: 1) I did not want to be involved in idle talk
2) I did not want to hurt people needlessly who are involved.

No I will not drop names, however, I will refer to certain situations that the people involved will know all too well what I am speaking of.
For starters, Trevor and I, as of last Sunday, are no longer attending Calvary Baptist Church. Trevor and I have told few people this but it will be realized in the next few weeks. I will not delve into the entire sticky situation and details but let's just say it is a difference in a matter of opinion, particularly on the issue of unrepentant sin.
This summer has been a time where I have often been scared to even venture outside my own home. I told fellow church members of this fear and how Trevor taught me how to use our gun and felt passed off as gossip, and maybe I was. I have been angry with how people are willing to pass off responsibility for hurt on the basis of a simple diagnosis. People I know have been hurt and few, if any apologies have been made by the offending parties. That is not my point here, though I think apologies would go a long way in healing the body of believers.
Sin IS the issue I am talking about. In all my prayer and exploration of the matter in God's word, I learned that church discipline is the answer for sin, of any type but especially of the sexual variety. I sought out I Corinthian 5 which is subtitled Expel the immoral brother. Don't misunderstand me, I hate confrontation. God often has to specifically call me to it for me to do any confrontation. (Well, I suppose except in cases of my temper, which God is working with me on.)
After much prayer, I see a few things in these verses which point to addressing sin in the church. First, it says to "hand this man over to Satan so that the sinful nature (his body) may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord" Are we so afraid to call a brother or sister on sin? Someone might call us on our sin. Believe me, all of us involved in this have prayed long and hard that if sin remained concealed in us that it be revealed and dealt with. Yes, we need grace but grace is not forgetting about unconfessed sin. Sin not dealt with will spread. Paul talks about how some in this body in Corinthians who boasted. He told them, " Don't you know a little yeast works throughout the whole batch of dough?"
Paul also brings in some other sins that need to be addressed like greed, idolatry, and slander. Paul says about these people actively involved in sin, I Corinthians 5 verse 10"You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother....With such a man do not even eat." So therefore, we are to stop associating with people who claim to believe in Christ, and are involved in sin. I would say that Paul would even say if you associate with such people, YOU are sinning. Paul says to, "Expel the immoral brother from among you(I Cor.5: 12)."
To me this seems pretty cut and dry. Christians who sin and go on their merry way need to be expelled from the fellowship. Many have argued, "We are sinners too so how can we judge?" I pray that if someone brought my sin before me that I would repent immediately. These same people have said that we need to give the sinner time to repent ( And I think two or three months is plenty of time), or how can we be God and determine if they have repented? There are instances in the Bible, even in the New Covenant, that refer to God striking down a sinner
(Acts 5 :1-11).
Without getting into specific details of the situation, I say some heartfelt apologies need to be voiced about why what was done was wrong would suffice. Even if this sinner doesn't believe he is wrong, his actions have hurt people. Sometimes we need to apologize even if we believe we are still right. In doing so, usually we discover we were actually wrong. God desires humility particularly in positions in the church that are supposed to serve.
This is the part where I tell where God has used this to change (or initiate change) in me.

Like this sinner, and many people, I have a problem with criticism. I have the tendency to "shoot the messenger." Aside, the sinner I refer to has also "shot" a lot of his messengers. I pray that if a brother or sister brings a sin to my attention that I will graciously accept their effort, no matter who it is that brings it. My point is that I have to learn to thank the messenger who saves my life. I must daily search my heart for hardness.
I am a cardiac nurse so I have many instances of a disease of the hardness of one' s heart. Though this hardness is a physical disease, it relates to the spiritual hardness of heart.
As in the hardening of one's heart vessels, usually one has an episode of chest pain, which brings to light partially occluded vessels by way of a visit to the local hospital. The person can either have a gracious attitude because he is not dead from the diseased vessels and he can go about changing his life to prevent further damage, or he can
1) Blame the doctor and or other health care professionals ( the messengers)
2) Focus on his genetics ( I'm just born a sinner)
3) ...And the fact that McDonald's is open 24/7( the sin was in front of me and couldn't help
4) .... Or that he can't exercise because he has to work all the time ( my excuse for not doing the right thing, resentment for having to miss things due to work)

and so forth...
And what's worse is that sin, unlike heart disease or most forms of it anyway, is transmitted to others. Sin spreads like a pandemic, a worldwide epidemic. The spread of bird flu is nothing like sin and what it can do. Sin can eat lives and souls from the inside out, like a putrid rotting wound that spreads its stench and is infested with maggots. Yes, that imagery is disgusting and makes you want to vomit. So it is with sin.
The truth is we are all sinners and without God we are like a leper, whose infected body parts go numb and fall off. Maybe if we treated sin, at least among brethren and not the world, the same way as leprosy was treated, we wouldn't spread it. Lepers were, and still are in some parts of the world, sent off to live out their days apart from the healthy world.(Sin in the world is also addressed I Corinthians 5, it is different). Another aside, leprosy wasn't what people thought it was, it is indeed a very curable disease in the modern world. I used it simply for its imagery.
I will not be silent anymore.

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