Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Ministry of Rebuke

It's funny how you don't notice certain aspects of instances in life until you've experienced them yourself. I've been close (not involved, just in touch with some involved parties) to a big-sin situation. (I have to mention here that my theology on the ranking of sins is still forming... I'm not sure if sin ranking is God-imposed or man-imposed.) These were, and still are my brothers and sisters in Christ. I stated my love for my friends, and my concern for consequences that will result from the willfull sin.

And then I watched the fallout come their way. The consequences are certainly huge and so complicated. I can't help but feel sad and grieved by the hurt that sin causes God's children, including those who were just innocent standers by.

With that being said, I am almost equally grieved by a spirit of pride that wells up within the community of believers when they realize that someone they know has committed one of the "bigger" sins. I completely understand that there is a place in the church for rebuke. It is definitely Biblical. But I am highly suspicious of self-righteousness as being a potential catalyst for people's anxiousness to grab a stone as quickly as they can.

What possible motivations could be behind massive amounts of people who have so many things to work on in their own lives to cause them to feel a strong need to put pen to paper or type out email sermons? Validation of their own guilt over "not-so-big" sins? Spiritual pride? The need to try to fix other people's problems (a common female characteristic)? Now, there are people in our lives who have the right to blast away at us when necessary... our close family members, our very best friends, the brothers and sisters we have covenanted with for times such as these. But when every Christian and their dog all of a sudden see fit to be someone's conscience, it makes me suspicious of wrong motives.

But I'm thinking now... if this is an effective and acceptible Christian practice, I may just start a new ministry for myself. I would be really good at this! I could easily spend hours a day finding sin in people's lives and writing letters telling them what to do differently. In fact, from what I've seen of this type of communication, you don't even need to bother offering any listening ear, make an attempt at grace, love, or understanding, or offer future mentoring. All you have to do is point out the wrongdoing! Starting the letter with "This is because I care about you" seems to be an optional addition to the note. This sounds like a piece of cake. Call it God's work, and then I'll feel so good about what I've done!

Or maybe not... when's the last time prideful harping worked at changing my children's hearts? At best it changes the behavior, and just hardens the heart. Hmm... Maybe I'll be very careful to check my motives... I mean REALLY check them, before I go starting a "ministry" of rebuke.

1 comment:

  1. My mother always told me "People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones". My house is most definitely made of glass. But you said it much more eloquently. Thank You.


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