Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Stuff of Saints.

I've always been one to shy away from confrontation. I'm not one of those people who gets trigger happy when there's an issue that needs to be confronted. Whether it's a sin issue, or something as minor as wanting someone to take their shoes off before they come into my house--doesn't matter. They all scare the heck out of me and I'd rather leave the issue of confrontation to others who enjoy it a little more.

When I was a student at BCOM, I started to hear things about how confrontation within the body of Christ is my responsibility as a member of the church. That was a shocking revelation to me. I was far more happy to err on the side of "don't judge" than on that of "if someone is caught in a sin, restore him gently". I guess I'm trying to overcommunicate my point, which is: I am not a big fan of confrontation.

My pastor preached a great message this morning on living without compromise. I was hoo-rahing him all the way. But then he reached the part when he talked about confrontation. He said that Godly confrontation is a way in which we MUST allow this "no compromise" agenda to manifest. I put down my pen and was ready to retract my "amen's". Confrontation is something I'd much rather just pretend doesn't exist, you know? But as he spoke, he began to (how crazy is this..) make sense!

I'm gonna share some of these pointers about confrontation with you because I think they're really helpful in getting a handle on this issue--an issue that I believe the church has many times interpreted in error. He talked about the verse, "Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently." Key words here being "if someone is caught in a sin". Being caught in a sin and committing a sin are two entirely different matters. If someone messes up once and yells at their kid because they're under a great deal of stress, it's totally different than if they consistently beat their wife. Make sense? Only if someone is caught in a sin in the sense that they are not finding their way out.. then we make our move. But our first move shouldn't be direct confrontation. Our first move should be to get on our face before God and ask Him to right our heart toward the person and the situation. Then in GENTLENESS as the verse says, we should go and confront them. Now, if they don't listen, that's where it gets messy because we have the whole Matthew 18 form to follow. And honestly, that's awkward, right? I mean so now you have to go to the person with a couple of other people. And then if they still don't listen, you have to go with the church elders... and then the WHOLE church! Crazy, right? Yeah my thoughts exactly.

What was incredible, was this morning as my pastor was teaching on this, he didn't just spout off what we are to do. He did it. Yeah, not kidding. There is a lady in our church who has seperated herself from her husband and is pursuing another man while still being married to her husband. She has been confronted privately, with a few others, with the church elders... and then she ended up moving. Well, before the church this morning, my pastor publicly addressed the fact that what she has done is wrong. He publicly made it known that our church no longer "covers" her. Wow. Talk about radical, right? Talk about twisting your gut. I wasn't sure how to react. I really wasn't. I was shocked, but at the same time, I realized that the hard stuff is what Scripture calls us to do. We have loved her and accepted her. We are still loving and accepting her... but in a very radically different way. She knows that at any time we will recieve her back with open arms should she choose to repent. But she has to know that we are taking a stand for righteousness as a church. I still feel something in me twist as I think of it. But at the same time, there it is in Scripture plain as day.

He used the example of Jonah. When the storm came and it was made clear that Jonah's sin was the cause of it... why couldn't Jonah just jump off the boat? Why couldn't he just jump knowing that the storm would calm if he did? Why did the sailors have to THROW him from the boat? The answer is, that they had to agree with God in his judgment of Jonah... because in their agreement with Him, they were saved from His wrath.

"Discipline will produce a harvest of righteousness. Don't sacrifice discipline on the altar of cultural relevance."

Crazy. I'm still unsure of all my thoughts on the subject. Go ahead, share yours. I'm sure you have some. This is controversial stuff, I realize.

I hope that all made sense. Like I said, this is still sort of processing in my mind. But what I do know is that I want to live a life of no compromise. I want to live all out for Christ. I want to follow his pattern for righteousness. I want to obey His commands.

I want to be called out. I want to be set apart. "I want to be found faithful, I want to be found steady, I want to be found faithful until the end."