Saturday, 30 August 2014

My Two Sins: A Confession

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater of a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you’.” 
1 Cor 5:11-13

This is one of those passages that it seems to me our modern day churches have forgotten to obey. We seem to have tossed it out along with a few other choice passages that don’t fit our modern day ‘cultural’ view of the bible.  This allows us to pick and choose what we do and don’t obey. What we really desire is a bible that comes with a pair of scissors so we can tailor make the Holy Scriptures into something that suits us. Fashioning our own god rather than obeying the Author of Life. All this is done in the name of culture but I believe we have forgotten one thing: we live in a pagan culture and it’s us that’s wrong, not the bible.

Do you think I am harsh?
I am speaking from my own experience.
Do you think I am angry?
I am speaking about a lack of integrity. 
Let me explain.

I want to start by defining my terms as the bible defines them. We don’t need any ‘Orwellian Speak’ issues here. Our christian churches seem to have forgotten that God gets to define what sin is - not us. 


In simple English, this is someone within the church who calls themselves a Christian. In biblical Greek, the word is defined as “a community based on identity of origin of life.” This community is the church - those of us who identify with new life in Christ and have formed a community of believers based on the saving work of Jesus at the cross. The term does not refer to only males.

Sexual Immorality: 
In simple English this refers to any sexual activity outside of a marriage between one man and one woman and it’s design for procreation. The bible defines sexual immorality as both innuendo and explicit sexual content in all forms of media, lust, perving, rape, fantasising  dressing provocatively, sensually or immodestly, homosexuality, beastiality, pedophilia, fondling or flirting with any one other than your spouse, incest, adultery, having an affair, or speaking about sex in a way that does not honor it as a sacred thing between a man and a woman. . Loving fidelity where both husband and wife are honored, cherished and respected would be the opposite.

In simple English this refers to lust, unjust gain, coveting, desiring to have more in a cruel and grasping sense, ,money loving, or also the inverse to be miserly and stinting. It comes from a root of discontentment, grumbling and dissatisfaction. Gratitude and contentment would be opposites.

Idolatry includes both sexual immorality and greed along with worshiping other religions, any kind of impurity, obscenity, foolish talk and coarse joking. At it’s root it is a complete lack of submission to the authority of the Word of God.

To slander someone is to accuse them falsely, thus stirring up trouble. The Devil is said to be a false accuser.

To become intoxicated, usually with alcohol.

In simple English, this is extortion, blackmailing, theft, plundering and or robbery.

My Two Sins: A Confession

I have two sins to confess publicly.

For many years I repeatedly, habitually committed many of the above sins while I was in church leadership. I was not repentant in the slightest. I didn’t even realize I was doing anything wrong. I wasn’t reading my bible. Never was I rebuked for them or put under church discipline. Never was I asked to leave the church. It was not only me. The large majority of my acquaintances in the church were doing the exact same thing. How do I know this? We were all doing it together. We all just kept going to church.

Why did the churches I attended not call me to account? 
Why was no-one called to account?
How many others did we lead astray because we weren’t disciplined?
Why did they only look at our natural giftings and not our hearts when appointing leaders?
Why did they not know our hearts?

I grieve over this. Not because I wish to blame shift - I don’t. My sin was the greater. But there are two sides to this coin. I also truly believe that if they had called me to account sooner, by first rebuking me personally, and then if I still remained unrepentant, by asking me to leave the church, to not even ‘associate with them’ or ‘eat with them’, I would have returned to the LORD and repented earlier! Others may not have been led astray. Others may have repented. More would have walked with integrity.

So many years steeped in sin. 
So many lost years. 
Where were the Shepherds?

Was the church just too large that they did not know the real me?
Do our churches need to be way, way smaller so that true shepherding relationships are formed?
Do we actually need to start practicing this principle of church excommunication and rebuke?
Do we actually need to get back to the basics of what is and isn’t sin?

My second sin is more recent. Having habitually stopped all the above sins myself, I made another mistake. I stayed in these same churches.

How is that a mistake you ask?
Because I then continued to have friendships with people who did these sins. We did hospitality together. We did Holy Communion together. We did church luncheons together. We did church picnics together. We did fellowship together. As a Woman and Mother, I regularly invited these church people into my home.

I didn’t speak out. 
I didn’t walk away.
I didn’t set up a boundary.
I didn’t call them to account either.
I left that to the Shepherds.

I was wrong.

“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater of a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”

‘Associate’ is a strong term.
‘Must not” is a strong term.
‘Do not’ is a strong term.

God forgive us all. "Forgive us trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us."

“I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Jn 15:1,2 

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