I often seem to face a struggle and it leaves me in a quandary. I struggle when I look at things and do not know what we are truly called to do. We are called to help hold our brothers and sisters accountable, but where do we draw the line?
I tend to focus more of my energy on being positive, encouraging and uplifting. That is my attempt at least, but I know that I fail often. That to me is easier and I am not ready to jump into that arena of questioning where the Lord is leading someone else.
I tend to follow the simple thought that, if someone was going to truly try to keep me accountable or to keep my sin in check, then they would be at my door or on the phone every night. The truth is that we all sin, and we sin every day. It is not that we sin “BIG” but rather that we simply sin. There is no “BIG” sin and no “little” sin; there is just sin. Every day we all sin. Every day we turn our hearts away from the Lord. We let something take that focus. It can be work, money, family, friends, holidays, anything. There can be anything that gets in the way of our focus. That is sinning. That is idolatry at its basic form.
It is a hard truth for me, but it is because of this truth that I tend to look less for others sin because I cannot escape mine. In this day and age, it seems that everything always comes down to a matter of finger pointing and accusations and not about recognizing that the Lord meets us where we are at. That is true for every one. There is no one way to meet with the Lord and there is no method that works better for meeting with Him that is better than another because we are all made different.
We all react to the world in different ways. We all have to face our struggles in a different manner. We were all created to depend on the Lord for the method to get through the obstacles and struggles of the day. So why do we feel that we know more about solving problems and want to give advice as opposed to walking alongside them. Our lives are to be examples to others. We are not called to be clanging gongs or cymbals. We are not meant to be mere noise to our neighbors, we are meant to be encouragers.
That is my take. That is my heart. People do not have to agree with me, but that is what I feel and see to be true. I see too much finger pointing and too much posturing about who is right and who is wrong to be comfortable with the current state of affairs in the Church. There is too much conflict and too much going on where one person seems to think that they have the answers for someone else’s problems without getting all the information. We want to solve problems based on what we see and what we hear as opposed to stepping into the battle with those that are struggling.
Many people want to point to Matthew 18:15 as the method for church discipline, and that is all well and good as long as you are following it completely. The key to it is that it is to be settled when a brother “trespass against thee”. The context for this is between two members of the body and not to be used simply as a method for one brother to point the finger at another and bring to light their sin. The words of Christ here are about dealing with conflict between two brothers. It is not about one brother sinning against God specifically. This is for the Lord to correct through discipline.
It is hard for me because I want to correct the wrongs that I see, but it is not my place to play God. It is not my place to try and discipline my brother when their transgression or sin is not against me. In those situations, I must choose to walk alongside them but not pass judgment on them. I must help them to reconcile it with the Lord, but there is nothing more that I can do. There is nothing that I can do in regards to bringing that sin in front of the Church or even discussing it with another brother. If the wrong is not against me, then I have no “power” other than to try and help the person see the error of their ways.
What it all comes down to is that we need to get to the point where we love more, accuse less. When we are focused on the Lord we will know when He has truly called us to say something and when we just need to encourage them and listen to them. Most of the time when we let someone work their way through their own struggles, they get where they need to be a lot faster than when we try to “do the Lord’s work”. We are doing the Lord’s work when we practice forgiveness, share our lives, seek first the Kingdom, and let the Lord handle judgement and discipline.