In homes with domestic violence, 50% of children are sexually and physically abused. America loses 5 children a day to abuse and neglect. Our churches, to our shame, are not exempt. The homes in our churches are not exempt. We must be watchful. Approachable. Trustworthy. Actively engaging the evil in our world with good, by the grace of God.
It's easy to take an item to the Jesus-counter, confess, ask forgiveness, then walk out the door with pockets, nooks, and crannies loaded with unconfessed sin. Sin kills relationships. Sin is more than a problem to be solved.
Jesus bore our sins. He is the theological (or Biblical) context for understanding this phrase. The historical context is punishment for breaking Roman law. Those who hung beside Jesus were guilty. "Bearing your cross" is carrying the weight, or living out the consequences, of your own guilt.
In a relationship with a controlling individual, there is a lot of guilt because that individual has a lot of rules. Not only do the rules change capriciously, there are real punishments associated with breaking each and every rule. The person in power controls which rule is most important in any given moment and determines when, how, why, and what kind of punishment applies whether the rule was spoken, unspoken, real or imagined.
Where sin is involved, we should not be surprised but, instead, should expect the following responses. It is only by God's grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ that we run to Him when we sin.
So when we clean or cover up another's sin and remove consequences and the opportunity/need for repentance, we are not serving them. We may be serving ourselves without realizing it. We are not working with God, but against Him.
If an individual is not forgiven here on earth, it's because forgiveness was not sought and repentance was not actualized. If that sin is not paid for and loosed on earth by those who experienced it, it is not forgiven in Heaven. It has never been owned, confessed, forsaken.
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.
"Too often, Christians mistake the transgressors, not the transgressed, as the ones most in need of grace." Jonathon Hollingsworth
Years ago while visiting a friend, the phone rang. From the far end of the house I heard a small, shrill voice rise and continue. "Aren't you going to answer the phone?" I asked. "Not yet," she said. The sound got louder and clearer, "Get outta the way! Move! Move! Move!" The young tornado ran … Continue reading Get Outta the Way!