Many Christians have a misconception about love. We hear a theology in many of our churches that we just need to love everybody, believers and non-believers alike, and always remember that the Bible says "judge not, lest you be judged!" Christians have bought into a lie by believing the following concept: if you really love me, than you will not question what is going on in my life right now. My private life is just that - private. Accept me as I am. I know that I'm a believer in Christ. I'm OK; you're OK.
The difficulty with this belief system is that there is no scriptural foundation for it. In fact, when Jesus Himself would meet with people and heal people, He would often close out His encounter with individuals with a statement such as, "go, and sin no more." He loved people unconditionally, but He always called them out on their sin, forgave their sin, and encouraged them to stop sinning. Also, throughout the New Testament Epistles, the leaders of the early church never taught this type of theology. In fact, the opposite has always been taught: if you, Christian, truly love someone and see that person in sin, then you will go to your Christian brother or sister, with witnesses if necessary, and call them out on their sin. Spiritually strong Christians are called to gently but firmly lead wayward believers back into fellowship within the church.
Unfortunately, though, immature Christians become offended by this approach. Nevermind that they are living in sin; they don't want to hear that. They want love, peace, and acceptance at any price. Because of their immaturity and lack of knowledge of the Scriptures, though, they don't understand that they need to turn from their sin and be restored into fellowship.
So, Christian, let me ask you these 3 questions, today:
- Is your heart tender to the loving discipline, the tough love of other believers when you are in sin?
- Have you ever looked the other way when you have known Christian bothers and sisters living in open sin?
- Have you ever engaged in proper church discipline of a wayward believer and what were your results?