When a child spills some milk what do you do? Do you yell and scream at him as if he is a worthless, flawed, failure? I hope not. That little child is imperfect and makes mistakes. To treat him like he has no value or is less-than when he makes a mistake is not good. Instead, show him how to clean up his mess. Talk him through how and why the mess was made so he might avoid the same mistake in the future.
What about when a child says a cuss word? Do you yell and scream at her as if she is a worthless, flawed, failure who is making you look like a bad parent? I hope not. That child is imperfect and makes mistakes. To treat her like she has no value or is less-than when she makes a mistake is not good. Instead, you talk to her about language. You help her establish boundaries for the kinds of words she uses and strive to pass on your values regarding the words we speak.
That makes sense to us regarding our kids. But what about our brethren? What about members of our congregation? What do we do when we know one of our brethren lied, lusted, cheated, stole, etc.? Do we yell and scream at them as if they are worthless, flawed, failures who are making your church look bad? Do we shame them, making them jump through hoops to feel forgiven? Do we treat them as if they are less-than? Do we look down on them as if they aren’t quite as spiritual as us? I hope not. That brother or sister is imperfect. They make mistakes. They will sin. To treat them like they are less-than, to shame them, to bitterly and harshly treat them is just not good. How dare we who are just as imperfect and just as sinful treat our brethren as if we are better than they are when we talk to them about their sins.
Perhaps this is why Paul told us to restore those caught in any trespass with gentleness (Galatians 6:1).
Certainly, if someone is living in utter rebellion, harsh rebuke may become necessary. However, to treat other growing Christians as if they are bad Christians just because they aren’t perfect (just like we aren’t perfect) is wrong. Do you know what Jesus did for that brother or sister when He learned about their sins? He died for them.
Think about that the next time you need to talk to a brother or sister about sin in their life. That may help you talk to them God’s way.
Remember, God’s Way Works!