One of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible is Matthew 7:1, where Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged.” (ESV) Far too many people have taken that to mean that we should never confront brothers and sisters in their sin. But surely Jesus is thinking about final judgment, i.e. condemning others to Hell, as if we could know who is going where. Clearly, he wants us to call out sin in brothers, but, of course, in a “spirit of gentleness”, as Paul writes (Galatians 6:1). After all, the Lord also says this…
Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3 (ESV)
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:15-16 (ESV)
Moreover, Jesus Himself does quite a bit of calling out sin. And this should not surprise us. After all, part of living in a holy community is helping others see their blind spots. Sin kills, and if we do not help one another see where we are going wrong, we are not living a life of love.
And one of the key places we see this teaching is in 1 Corinthians 5…
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people–not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler– not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (ESV)
Hard words, to be sure. But sometimes love is hard. Give me a friend who lovingly points out the sin in my life over a “friend” who lets me go on in my folly. For truly…
“Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.” Proverbs 27:5-6 (ESV)
For Tuesday, May 12: 1 Corinthians 6
May 11, 2015 at 5:58 am
May 11, 2015 at 12:59 pm
How ought one consider this versus Matthew 7:3?
“Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
The following part of the passage today is particularly condemning:
“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.”
Since Paul reminds us “all have fallen short” (Romans 3:23) how are any of us stand in the face of such rebuke? For I would submit many if not all of us have been “guilty” of the offenses Paul cites at one time or another, perhaps even at this very moment. Applying this passage in a literal sense would like cause a precipitous drop in attendance our church’s meal events.