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WHEN A BROTHER STUMBLES
Mark Joseph / Todd Tomasella

"We may be assured that perfect chastity will not be attained by any merely human efforts. You must ask for God's help," C.S. Lewis once observed. "After each failure ask for forgiveness, pick yourself up and try again. For however important chastity may be, this process trains us in habits of the soul which are more important still. It cures our illusions about ourselves and teaches us to depend on God. We learn on the one hand that we cannot trust ourselves even in our best moments, and on the other, that we need not despair even in our worst, for our failures are forgiven. No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, and the clean clothes in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one's temper and give up.  It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us: it is the very sign of His presence."

    Romans 7:18  "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”

    Romans 7:24  "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

How should we handle the matter with a sinning Christian? Fortunately, Christ himself left an example that His followers can imitate, for one of His disciples committed a deed far more wretched than adultery -- he actually denied even knowing Jesus (Mk. 14; Lk. 22; Jn. 18).

It would certainly have been appropriate for Christ to ask for and receive Peter's resignation as a disciple -- he could certainly not be expected to turn the world upside down for his Master after such a tawdry display of disloyalty. Yet his Master, understanding human nature as He did, reacted differently.

    "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."  Luke 22:31-32

In so doing, our LORD set an example for how leaders should treat people who fall, should they be repentant as Peter was. And while there clearly is Biblical justification for removing pastors caught in adultery, radio talk show hosts whose work happens to minister should be held to the same standards all Christians are: the standards of forgiveness, eventual restoration and a firm reminder like the one Jesus gave another caught in adultery: "Go and sin no more." (Jn. 8:11)

Church discipline serves to bring the transgressor to repentance and restore his faith in God (1 Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 2:11).

Note here that Jesus told Peter "when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."  Peter was told, in advance of his transgression, to build up the saints of God, his "brethren", when he was restored.                           

    "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.  Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."  Galatians 6:1-2

PASS IT ON.

This article was originally written by Mark Joseph.
It has been modified by myself...todd tomasella

Church Discipline

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