Thursday, September 5, 2013

Failure of Nerve: Confrontational

(This is part seven of a series of blogs on failure of nerve. Click here to read the introduction blog.)

Let me issue this disclaimer at the beginning of this blog. This is an entry intended for those that have already committed their lives to following Christ. The concept of confronting personal choices of sin doesn't apply to anyone who is not a Christ follower. While the law, societal moral codes, and common decency can guide our behavior and should be emphasized, the enforcement of God's law won't shoehorn anyone into a relationship with Him. I think that the church sometimes forgets this concept and tries to impose Biblical regulations on people who need to hear about God's abundant grace & fantastic mercy first. Attempting to legalistically excise behaviors before a heart is transformed produces a spiritual vacuum that will only be filled with new poor choices. 

Confronting sin is an extremely unpleasant undertaking. It's often easier to sit in the church and talk about what's wrong with the world than it is to talk to Christ followers that are trapped in their own sin. Jesus gave us a model for doing this because He knew that it would be necessary and that it would also be a tough task. Unfortunately, we often fall into two different camps in terms of our reaction to sinful choices. We either ignore it in a misguided attempt to keep peace (and a complete failure of nerve and responsibility) or we attack the individual without following Jesus' model of love and mercy. It's an interesting scenario when we confront sin with our own sinful attitude. 

God tells us what is acceptable and expects His followers to lovingly approach each other with confession, repentance, and restoration in mind. When we declare that our lives belong to Him we simply can't tolerate things that God won't accept either. Ignoring these behaviors in the church will lead to disunity and the removal of God's protection and blessing. Attacking people instead of gently reminding them of their commitment to Christ and prayerfully helping them to overcome it will break down the church as well. The world is watching how the church treats their own. If we demonstrate kindness and genuine love we stand a far better chance of healing a fellow follower and creating an avenue to reaching the world as well.

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