“Is the person a Christian?” This criterion does make a difference because God offers a specific course of action for guilty Christians. If the wrongdoer is not a Christian, we must grieve and allow God to mete out His justice as we forgive the debt. Remember, grieving is about adjusting our lives based on the truth. In regard to the unsaved, we must realize the truth that unsaved individuals are unable to conduct themselves with the love, grace, and mercy of a forgiven soul. They cannot be held to the same standards God expects of the saved. Often we jump to confrontation and boundary setting without grieving the truth that a person cannot evidence godliness and goodness apart from the grace of Christ. Rather than being angry with the sinner, we must grieve for his or her soul.
“It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, ‘You must remove the evil person from among you.’”1 Cor. 5:12–13 NLT
HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ME?
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.”Matt. 18:15–17 NLT
Lord, You are righteous in everything You do; You are filled with kindness. Lord, I know You are close to all who call on You, yes, to all who call on You in truth. You grant the desires of those who fear You; You hear my cries for help and rescues me. Lord, You protect all those who love You, but You destroy the wicked. . . .Ps. 145:17–20
(excerpts from Desperate Dependency by J. Kirk & Melanie D. Lewis)
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