Let’s go ahead and get it out on the table—we don’t really know how to handle the ongoing sin of others in our small groups, families or Christian communities. It’s awkward to have a discussion about someone else’s issues, especially when we know we’ve got at least one log (maybe even multiple) emanating from our eyes. We’ve heard Matthew 7:1-6 which tells us not to judge. We hear the cries from our culture telling us we don’t know them and we shouldn’t judge them. Is there a better way? What are we supposed to do in then?
We certainly aren’t called to judge those outside the church to the same moral and spiritual compass that we have in Christ. We can’t long for behavioral modification without first engaging with a clear understanding of how the gospel changes us and them. But to those inside the church, who know the gospel, and are struggling with a variety of sin issues, the church is present not to condemn into changing, but to lovingly correct toward Christ.
Matthew 7:2 reminds us that the same measure used on others will be used on us. It doesn’t mean we don’t judge in fear of being judged. It means the attitude and longings of our heart for others will be the measure of our own judgement. It’s possible the questions below can help us determine our motivations and desires as we hope to lovingly, mercifully, graciously and humbly go to our brothers and sisters in err.
“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” (Galatians 6:1, emphasis mine)
Before having those thoughts and/or conversations, ask yourself:
Do I struggle with the same sin? How might we strengthen one another in the removal of this sin or temptation?
Do I want to draw attention to their sin to mask the guilt and shame I feel for my own hidden sin?
Is my intention to hurt the person by bringing the issue to the surface or do I hope to usher them lovingly to Christ?
Am I looking at them through the eyes of Jesus or through the eyes of a Pharisee?
Can I engage with the person lovingly, mercifully, graciously, humbly, and with a clear conscience?
How would I want to be approached over this?
Do you have any ideas in ushering our brothers and sisters in Christ toward the throne of grace?