A response to conviction results in death or salvation without regret–not just for individuals but for entire churches. If a husband is willfully sinning against his wife, a church that fails to address his sin for the sake of “saving the marriage” will suffer loss.
The apostle Paul, though he addressed an individual’s sin, did so for the sake of the church.
So although I wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the offender nor for the sake of the one offended, but that your earnestness on our behalf might be made known to you in the sight of God. (2 Corinthians 7:12)
As a church, the attitude and response to sin reveals its heart. God is at work, not just in the life of the victim of domestic abuse/coercive control, but revealing the heart of the oppressor and church closest to them.
Pastor, how are you responding to sin in your camp?
Men, leadership, how are you responding to sin in your midst?
Congregation, how are you responding to sin against your neighbor and sister?
May we, like the church in Corinth, respond to God’s call “not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)
Let God’s Word speak to your heart as it did when it was first received:
You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:3-8)
Then, as we respond and obey to the Word of Christ, we will see the fruit of righteousness:
For though I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it—for I see that that letter caused you sorrow, though only for a while— I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, so that you might not suffer loss in anything through us. For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death. For behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter. (2 Corinthians 7:8-11)
We call out idolatrous behavior so that others may see the person of Jesus Christ exhibited in our churches and congregations–the holiness, reverence, and love He has for His own. We do not obey for our own sakes, but to make Him known. Hiding the idolatrous, divisive, destructive brother in our midst is not loving for that individual, his wife, children, or the local church. It’s time we took a hard look at repentance.