CONFESS YOUR SINS TO EACH OTHER THAT YOU MAYBE HEALED OR…HUMILIATED

All Evangelicals are familiar with the passage in the book of James 5:15 that says: Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

Do you ever wonder who and how many constitute the “each other” in the above verse? To whom and to how many do I have to confess my sin, so I can be healed? No matter how you feel about the Catholic Church, this is how they interpret the above passage. Once a catholic sees the need for confessing his sin, he goes to the perish priest, makes his confession and, for all practical purpose, that is the end of the issue. Most priests would rather go to jail than reveal what was confessed to them. But, for the most part, the Evangelicals still struggle as how to implement this verse in their everyday life. Let me give you couple of examples.

I met Scott, a well-educated, deep thinking and very attractive man, seven years ago. By that time he had been a follower of Christ for about five years. His greatest desires in these past seven years were to serve God and find a woman who would fall in love and marry him. To stay true to his love for God, he lived a celibate life. Following his pastor’s suggestion he had made a list of what kind of woman he wanted because, after all, if you pray hard enough and live a pure life, God will give you the perfect woman He has chosen for you.

Scott and I spend this past seven years praying, fasting and taking every practical avenue we could to find him a wife. He joined an on-line Christian dating service, went to singles’ meetings and allowed friends to introduce him to different eligible Christian women. Nothing worked! Probably because, we either did not pray hard enough or had sin in our lives (As usual, sarcasm is all mine).

About a year ago, not being able to find a Christian woman, he started dating a musician lady who was not a believer. Before attacking me for allowing it or Scott for going against God’s word and dating a non-believer, let me ask you a question, what is your solution? Do you have a better suggestion for a man in his forties who longs to have the arms of a loving woman around him so he can feel like a man God has called him to be? And please don’t you dare give the cliché that, “God alone should have been enough in Scott’s life.” Even God himself didn’t believe that bullcrap the church has been feeding the Christians for it was He who said, “It is NOT good for man to be alone.” If I remember correctly, at the time when God said that, Adam had God ALL to himself and it was long before he sinned. So, apparently, when it comes to being alone, though God is sufficient, He is not enough.

Scott started to take his girlfriend to church. Finding out that she was a musician, Scott’s pastor hired her to play on the worship team. Everything was going well until Scott gave into temptation. Yes, he slept with his girlfriend once and his life has never been the same because he wanted to be obedient to the Scripture and confess his sin.

My friend happened to be working for a rather large Christian organization. Feeling convicted, he made the great mistake of confessing his sin to his boss. You would think with a little grace that would have been the end of the issue. No, the boss promptly demoted him and demanded that Scott go to his pastor and confess his sin to him also, upon which he was rebuked and striped of all his duties at church. But that was not enough. This horrible sinful act was reported to the president of the organization and eventually the whole executive team had to be informed of it. Knowing the power of gossip, I would not be surprised if within a few weeks the whole building knew what my dear brother had done.

I recently heard of a Bible college student, Mary, who, as they say it at that school, “broke covenant”; she slept with another student. Again, wanting to be faithful to the above verse, she decided to confess her sin to her female RA. The RA promptly demanded that Mary go before her overseers, a couple, and confess her sin to them too. After wanting to know the most intimate details of Mary’s relationship, the overseers made her go before a committee of three confessing her failure. I wish I could tell you that that was the end of the ordeal, but NO. Mary, then, had to go to the president of the college who made her go before the student body at chapel time and announce to the whole school that she had “broken covenant.” Of course, she was not expected to go into all the details (how generous of them!), but I can imagine all the rumors that started because of her confession. One more thing, she also was required to go to her Christian boss and several other people at her job and confess to them also, which cost her the job.

Going back to my friend Scott, out of humiliation and embarrassment, he left his church and quit his job and to be honest, today, he is facing a crisis of faith. As for Mary, whom I have known for a year, she didn’t fair out any better. As I was having lunch with her this past week, my conversation with this young lady who is about the same age as my daughter, 20-21, went something like this:

“You have aged, Mary.”

She smiled and replied, “That’s what my mother said too.”

“What have you learned from this experience?“ I asked

“Not to trust the authority,” she replied.

This is what one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, in his book, Ragamuffin Gospel, says regarding the prodigal son,

“for me, the most touching verse in the entire Bible is the father’s response: ‘While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was moved with pity. He ran to the boy, clasped him in his arms and kissed him tenderly’ (Luke 15:20).

I am moved that the father didn’t cross-examine the boy, bully him, lecture him on ingratitude, or insist on any high motivation. He was so overjoyed at the sight of his son that he ignored all the canons of prudence and parental discretion and simply welcomed him home. The father took him back just as he was.”

In the same book, concerning the woman caught in adultery in the Gospel of John, Brennan says,

“Jesus didn’t ask her if she was sorry. He didn’t demand a firm purpose of amendment. He didn’t seem too concerned that she might dash back into the arms of her lover. She just stood there and Jesus gave her forgiveness before she asked for it. The nature of God’s love for us is outrageous.

Why doesn’t this God of ours display some taste and discretion in dealing with us? Why doesn’t He show more restraint? To be blunt about it, couldn’t God arrange to have a little more dignity?

Now, if we were in His position, we’d know perfectly well how to behave. The prodigal son would have recited his speech down to the very last word. And when he got finished we would have said, “Well, you go away, prodigal son, and I’ll think about this for a couple of weeks. Then you’ll be informed by an e-mail whether I’ve decided to let you back on the farm or not.

I don’t think anyone of us would have approved of throwing rocks at the poor woman caught in adultery, but we would have made sure she presented a detailed act of repentance and to be firm in her purpose of amendment. Because if we let her off without saying she was sorry, wouldn’t she be back into adultery before sunset?”

Why is it that if I work for a Christian organization, everyone above me is supposed to be my spiritual leaders too? Where does it say that a Christian should spiritually be accountable to his floor manager or even the director of his department who are nothing but a couple of paper-pushers or at best administrators who never try to connect with the their employees on any other level than business? In front of how many people does a Christian have to be humiliated and disgraced before he is presumably handed his forgiveness?

Please, don’t for one minute think that I am suggesting that we are not responsible for our actions or that one should not be accountable for his mistakes. No, we reap what we sow. My issue is with a leadership that has been placed in authority to build up the body of Christ and not their own kingdoms by tearing down people who God has put under them.

May God have mercy on us for taking a passage, which is supposed to bring healing and restoration to the body of Christ to YET AGAIN another tool of destruction, humiliation and above all, control. Maybe that’s why, as Barna says, there are 13 to 15 million unchurched born again Christians in America. Maybe the unchurched are not longer longing for another mega church pastor, but for a leader who will accept and forgive them as and where they are.

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29 thoughts on “CONFESS YOUR SINS TO EACH OTHER THAT YOU MAYBE HEALED OR…HUMILIATED

  1. good post man. i personally have been on the working end of this kind of thing and it sucks.the effect it had on me was that when i found myself in the position to receive confessions from students or others under my care i pronounced them forgiven.a couple of times this got back to those “in authority” and i got in some bit of trouble.see i am not ordained and haven’t been through the pastor factories so apperantly i am in no place to look at another christian and tell them that jesus forgives them.getting in trouble didn’t stop me, i just stopped telling folks i was doing it.

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  2. The best leaders are the humble ones. Those who can see their own weaknesses and choose not to punish others for weaknesses they ‘confess’. The best leaders know that they too are human and capable of error, that they too (from the Christian perspective) are sinners forgiven by grace and that they too are required to forgive if they hope to receive forgiveness. What about ‘Do unto others…’ What about being judged as you so judge? Imagine how they might experience that final judgement.I would have thought the very act of confession in those situations was a greater sign of obedience to God than the indiscression was a sign of disobedience. Obviously there needs to be a repentance. But the act of confession, at least to my understanding, carries an implication of repentance.(More ramblings from the Pagan in the corner here. :D)BBMike

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  3. I found your blog through Phil at Square No More. When I have more time I’ll try to read more of your story. I had a bad experience or two with churches, the most recent one being with a church in New Mexico.

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  4. Hi Shah, I found your post through a link on one of Phil Wyman’s blogs. It greatly concerns me too, the lack of grace shown to people brave enough to confess.I would love to see their honesty affirmed, rather than castigated and gossiped about. How is the latter going to encourage Christian community to be an honest place? No wonder someone like Ted Haggard never shared what he was going through. What encouragement did he have to be honest? I’m sure he saw what happened to other people who were and it was very hard to even contemplate that himself.So while I do not excuse his failure to confess until he was caught (and even then he lied at first), I think Christian community often makes it very hard to do so.I hope you’ll consider visiting the Off The Map blogs sometime. The one I host is < HREF="http://conversationattheedge.com/" REL="nofollow"> Conversation at the Edge<>. By the way, we recently posted an interview with Phil Wyman called “Can Christians be friends with witches?” on our Doable Evangelism blog.

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  5. Why would someone confess to anybody who could tell anyone else their confession?That makes absolutely no sense to me. However I am an Orthodox Christian and I make my confessions to Jesus Christ in front of the Gospel, the Cross and my Spiritual Father, who then holds me accountable for my actions by giving me spiritual advice and counsel. My priest who reads the prayers of absolution over me after I have made my confession to God. This power hungry situation that you describe is so sad and desperate, May God have mercy.the handmaid,Mary-Leah

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  6. Mike, Where does it say in the Bible that you have to go throught the pastor’s factory to be able to offer forgiveness to anyone. If anything, Jesus told us that whomever WE forgive is forgiven. Keep on forgiving and eventually, end up with no job 😉 Just kidding.

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  7. Helen, thank you for visiting my blog. I did visit yours, but didn’t leave any comments. You are so correct. The way one is treated after confessing his sin causes one not to ever want to share his short comings with anyone. I have an interesting story about Ted Haggard wich I will write about one of these days. My heart goes out to him and especially his family.

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  8. Dear Mary-Leah, what can I tell you? we are Protestants and as of yet don’t have a set way of dealing with confessed sins. I love the Orthodox approach. It makes much sense to me. However, I believe there is always room for us sharing our shortcomings with trusted friends. By the way, thank you for visiting my blog.

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  9. Thanks for your post, Shah. Timely and convicting. I, too, could tell stories of the way certain confessions of sin were mishandled (imo)in my former place of ministry of 26 years. The abuse done in the name of the Lord was one of the things that just finally wore me out and spurred me on to leave. My work in 12-Step recovery has broadened my understanding of confession. Ou confessions must be done with trustworthy & humble people. There is a huge emphasis on honesty in recovery, but at the same time we are told that it is risky to broadcast our lives to those who don’t understand this disease. Thus we have alcoholics confessing to other alcoholics the exact nature of their wrongs. Even at group level we are taught that the details of many of our shortcomings are best left to do with our sponsor during our fifth step. Anonymity & confidentiality are strongly taught and required in our meetings. Without them there would be no real safety for people to open up, get honest, come into the light, and be healed. After 22 years of working with this model and seeing its success, I have sought to implement it into more of mainstream church life; most of the time not too successfully. Thus I tell hurting people to just come to a recovery meeting, even if they are not alcoholic or co-dependent.There are more to the dynamics of this model that are worth considering. But I don’t want to go too long here. I’ll try to post some more thoughts on the subject perhaps later.For now, let me say that my heart goes out to the two individuals you have written of; I know the Lord will heal them in time, but I bleed for them and am in total disagreement with the way their churches handled their situations.Steve R.

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  10. Hey Shah,I definately agree and understand your point. Confession should be a point from whcih to, as you said, recieve healing and deeper fellowship with our brothas and sistas. But, and perhaps it is my slightly jaded view from the amount of this i have witnessed among christians, but both Scott and Mary were definately wrong. And not wrong like the woman at the well. It is in no way the same situation. Do i agree with how either organization handled it? No way. But, hey, Christ says in revelation that He ¨is coming like a thief in the night¨ and will expose the shame of our sin. Its better that we judge ourselves and be judged by other Christians, as Paul urges, now than be judged by Christ later. stuff like this needs to stop in the Church, and if that stops it then i am all for it. the worship leader at my first church was having sex with multiple partners. my former youth pastor got charged with sexual assault for having sex with a 16 year old. The bigger issue is that we really are sinful to the core. We need Jesus. not nicer leaders, regardless that the leaders mentioned in your story were prob just trying to cover themselves up and werent actually doing anything out of love. nevertheless, exposed sin is a very good thing. Christ died for it. all of it. what shame do we need to carry? He carried it all to the cross. i have personally been in similar situations where crap was said about me, but i am closer to Gos now because of it. if scott and mary are actually Christians, this will only bring them closer to God and will teach them that religion and its leaders mean nothing. elemenatary school relationships with Jesus mean nothing. only Christ in His full glory in our hearts matters.But yeah, i dont think any of the leaders were right. i also dont think they should even be leaders. having a bible degree doesnt make you fit to be a pastor or RA or whatever. Jesus does.Mark Cleveland

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  11. Allow me to preface my comment by saying that I completely understand the differences between the Church and the world. The Church is to be in the world, not of it, etc, etc. With that said, allow me to present my point.A hypothetical situation, if you will: A television network decides to launch a huge marketing campaign with the company’s marketing department organizing the entire endeavor. The marketing campaign calls for the hanging of electronic devices that resemble cartoon characters from said network in and about major metropolitan areas. What seems like a harmless, word-of-mouth-generating campaign turns into a gigantic debacle when local law enforcement agencies come across the devices and peg them as IEDs (improvised explosive devices). As a result, the Department of Homeland Security is called in and entire cities are shut down during commuting hours, costing each city billions in lost revenues for the day. Once it is determined that the devices are indeed marketing materials and not explosives, city officials and law enforcement agencies call for swift action against the television network for its gross negligence. One would think that the entire marketing department would be offered up as a sacrifice, as, after all, it was their idea. However, that thought would be wrong. As a matter of fact, the marketing department — the true perpetrators of the “crime” — were all allowed to keep their jobs.At this point, you’re asking: “So, Publius, who was held accountable for the marketing department’s actions?” The answer, (in the mindset of the world, at least), is simple: The president of the network resigned. But why?! Why would the <>PRESIDENT<> of a major network be forced to step down over something he didn’t even do?? The answer is simple: Responsibility. As president of the network, that man took full responsibility of his network’s actions, janitors’ and executives’ alike. Now to my point, posed as a question. How many people do you think confronted that young girl’s RA and asked why she, as a person in leadership who has signed a contract to maintain order or sanctity in a living area, was unable to prevent her resident’s slip-up? Furthermore, how many people do you think approached the head of housing and asked why they were unable to teach their RAs to be more observant toward less-than-moral trends that many youth take?First, I guarantee no one asked questions of anyone beyond the humiliated girl in this story. Second, it is becoming more and more apparent that many Church leaders (most of whom could not run a legitimate business if their lives depended on it…or if denominational funds dried up…which usually go hand-in-hand) are so inwardly focused that it almost makes them feel better about themselves to affix a scarlet letter upon those that have “strayed” from the flock, mainly to reassure themselves that they’re living a much holier life than that person and making sure everyone in the congregation can see that.So, my friends, in closing, I leave you with this question: Who was it that dragged the adulterous woman into public to be judged? Think about it.<>PUBLIUS.<>

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  12. Shah jon,I’ve been thinking about this issue. I heard about that very situation at the college and the steps that were required of the students leading up to and following their public confession. My first thought was, <>“For the love of all that’s holy, where’s the grace?”<> (or something along those lines) Of course there must be consequences for actions–a good case can even be made that these consequences must increase in relation to the error/fault/sin committed–but aren’t Christ followers supposed to behave like Christ and extend grace? Instead, those who confessed were given the left foot of fellowship…booted off of campus. Offering grace seems reasonable to me, but maybe not. Maybe I’m reading the New Testament wrong, and we’re not actually supposed to strive to be like Jesus.

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  13. Dear Anonymous:Thanks for taking the time to post your response. There are some people who think I am advocating no one should be responsible for his/her actions. As you mentioned, the issue here is the punishment not fitting the crime. My two friends in the story were not trying to hide their sins. They went out of their ways to be scriptural and confessed their sins. My disgust is with the way they were treated.PS. Only Iranians call me Shah jon which means dear Shah 😉 But I know you are not Iranian or are you?PSS. I believe with all my heart that if Jesus was to appear on the scene today, like He did 2000 years ago, most our evangelical churches would crucify him afresh because he wouldn’t fit into their molds.

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  14. Dear Publius:I wish I knew who you were so I could personally give you a kiss as a way of saying, thank you for responding to my blog. Hey, I am a Middle Easterner so kissing men or women on the checks is a part of our culture. I love your analogy of the marketing campaign that went south a few months ago. It took guts for the president of the marketing company to take full responsibility for the whole incident. Guts, something that many of, so called, Christians leaders so lack in their lives. I also loved your comments about church leaders not being able to run a legitimate secular business. I am writing a whole article about this very issue. I am sure you will enjoy reading it. But for now, I believe there are two entities in the United states where their leaders can spend money without much accountability, the government and the church. God knows I saw so much of that this past seven years working at the headquarters of a very well known Christian organization.Shah

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  15. Dear Mark, you completely miss the point. Unlike your youth pastor, these two people didn’t need their sins exposed. They were the ones whom, trying to be scriptural, confessed their sins to their leaders. My disgust is with the way they were treated. Another thing, I don’t believe God has called me to be the exposer (if there is such a word) of sins in people’s lives, but to love mercy, to do justly and to walk humbly before him. Brother, which one of us would survive if what is really going in our thoughts and hearts were exposed?? However, having said this, I believe to stand for justice does mean having to expose the sins in the church. But when I look at Jesus, He didn’t go after the lowly who already knew they were sinners in need of grace and forgiveness, but He went after the high monkey monks of his day, the religious leaders.Keep on writing and challenging me. We can both learn much from each other. Shah

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  16. Shah! Good to hear from you. You definately do challenge me, so thank you! But I didn’t actually miss your point, Let me show you what I meant. My youth pastor did confess his sins; he turned himself into the authorities and is being snetenced sometime this month! He might not even get to see his three kids until they turn 18! But he is accepting the consequences of his sin and is letting God do His thing with his sin. But look at Mary and Scott, look how they are handling this. Scott is having a “crisis of faith” and Mary “doesn’t trust authority.” Why exactly did they confess their sins in the first place? To reconcile with God? Themselves? Their church? Really, why? Just because it was “the right thing to do”? Like, how the crap is Scott having a crisis of faith? He has been a Christian for over 7 years! He is not the lowly women caught in adultery. He is not the woman at the well. He is not Zacchius. He didnt just accidentally do that. Neither did Mary. And before you throw out the “well, we are all sinners and make mistakes” side let’s look at the RA and the organization’s leaders for a second. The RA: “What was she thinking?” is my first response. Look how she really handled it; was it with showing Mary Christ-like love and helping to get Mary free of her sin? Nope. She seemed too worried about her job or reputation or whatever it was. Then the school; was all of that necessary? Probably not. But, Mary “broke covenant” and those are the consequences she knew she would be dealing with, going to a “Christian” school and all. What did she think was going to happen? Scott’s bosses: Similar to the RA. What, really, were their motivations behind their actions? Glorifying God? Loving Scott? I doubt it. But then his response is the same as Mary’s. So, what’s my point and after all of that how did i not actually miss your point? Christian authority has blatantly abused much of the bible (like you mentioned) so that they can control their “flocks.” Everything from the “salvation prayer” they make you pray because if you don’t say those exact words then you cannot actually be a Christian, to distilling communion down to a 10 minture “preshow” because if we actually get to spend time with Christ our hearts and minds will radically change and we will find that Jesus is actually our head pastor and that the Holy Spirit is actually our counselor and that biblical revelation and prophesy are not limited to “anointed ones” but are available to ALL Christians because we are all adopted sons and co-heirs with Christ Jesus, our God. All of this being summed up by the fact that most pastors, leaders, Christian college RAs (I know several of them), and everybody else doesn’t actually spend earnest, legit time with God. They run and hide behind being leaders and their egos or, with Scott and Mary, playing the victim card or by simply pretending that nothing is wrong, instead of honestly spending time with God. Thr problem is not bad leadership or scriptual abuses, the problem is not loving God with everything we have. Because it is from there that we can love ourselves, and then love our neighbors. Because if we are not reconciled to God over our own sin then everyone else’s sin will always freak us out and cause knee-jerk reactions like the leadership you mentioned. That is what I meant. Mark

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  17. Hey Mark:Thanks for your response. I am sorry if I thought you missed my point.Mary and Scott both admit they made mistakes and neither is playing the victim-card, as you said. Their crisis of faith or their loss of trust in authority came after the way they were treated and not because of their sins. Do you honestly believe that every time a person complains about the miscarriage of justice, he/she is pulling the victim-card? I don’t understand your comparison of Mary and Scott with the Bible characters. It seems to me that you are saying those people accidentally did what they did, but my two friends planned it. True; no one wakes up one day and says to himself, “I think today I am going to commit this sin or that sin.” You plan it. I completely agree with you. But it seems to me that confessing your sin to another brother or sister is just not enough. You also need to be publicly humiliated in order for you to receive forgiveness from the Christian community. That is what I have a problem with.I have been a believer much longer than you have been alive and just yesterday when I explained to a pastor how I had been treated by a Christian organization that I had given 25 years of my life to, his first response was, “I am surprised you still believe in Jesus.” I wasn’t pulling the race or victim-card, but that was his first response. Do you know why? Because our, so called leaders, have the influence and power to cause people to question their faith when these leaders abuse their powers. Please remember this: If you live long enough, you will, at some point in your life, have a crisis of faith.To think that the only reason we have problems in life is because we are not spending true time with God, is immature and inaccurate. We are humans saved by grace, after all. How many Christians do you know who have spent year after year seeking God’s will by fasting 30 days straight without food? I did that and still ended up making wrong decisions. All the time in the world spent with God will not make us faultless; it will not cause us to make all the right decisions so that we have a perfect life.Too often I see Christians use seeking God for guidance as a cover up for their fear of making decisions, or being too lazy to do the hard work of being an adult, searching for good solutions, considering the options, and deciding what the best course of action is. Christians have been conditioned to be followers, who cannot make decisions for themselves. They need to always seek God, seek their pastor to find out what to do for some of the most common decisions of life.We need to acknowledge our humanity, and admit that we don’t have all the answers. As humans, we try to make the best decisions we can, considering all the details, facts, options, and alternatives. But we cannot predict the future, and what we thought was a good decision could very easily turn out bad, mainly because we cannot control other people.My problem, as you said, is with the way we handle fallen Christians. No, I am not saying, “well, we are all sinners so do whatever you want to and no one is supposed to keep you accountable.” NO, not at all. But, I am saying, “If Jesus treated the woman who was caught in adultery with so much grace and mercy, rather than condemnation and humiliation, how much more should we treat people who have made wrong decisions in their lives the same way?” Is our job to shoot the wounded or bring them back to health? I know you do agree with what I am saying, but I just wanted to make sure that we are both on the same page.

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  18. Shah,Let me apologize first and foremost. Looking back at what I wrote, I feel as though not only did I no have compassion on your friends but even felt as if I were in some posistion to correct them, and even you. Which is messed up for so many reasons, yet, I did it anyways. So I am really sorry. (Ask me what it means to be a hypocrite…Dang.)And the meaning of “spending time with God” is something far deeper than what I communicated. I will explain. “If you live long enough, you will, at some point in your life, have a crisis of faith.”I have actaully had several. And am honestly having one right now, hence the slightly embittered posts (think 2cor 4, while realizing that …well i will tell you later if you want.) . But what I have learned from them all, which was my point though I couldn’t say it because I had to know better than everyone, is that I don’t actually know much at all. But God is always good, despite jerks and cynics like me, and despite our mistakes and despite our insecurities. Why can’t we just be painfully honest about who we are as human beings, and about Who God is? That intersection is where our lives should be lived (That is where our prayers actually feel like they carry weight and accomplish things). And where bs mistakes like sleeping with someone fall dead on a cross and where we, instead, can rejoice in our God’s goodness together.This is what I mean by spending time with God. So I am sure that I look like a big jerk and moron by now; Thank you. Instead of criticizing Mary and Scott and those leaders, I think I’m goiing to go pray for them. Afterall, I could be them.You’re the man, Shah. Keep rocking the boat, and putting up with kids like me.

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  19. Shah, Wonderful post. It really encouraged me to read through it and see that there are other Christians who are witnessing the same lack of compassion and love in some aspects of some churches today. We are so quick to judge and condemn our brothers and sisters and in that process we wound them more deeply and drive them out of our church family. What happened to helping each other in fighting the good fight?Just to be clear, there are many instances where Christian rebuke is definitely necessary. But it’s also startlingly clear to me that brotherly love is a key ingredient missing in many of today’s congregations.Thank you for writing that post and being so honest about an issue that many find it hard to talk about. J.

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  20. Well said, Shah. I had a similar experience with church leadership several years ago. I was still pretty young in the faith at the time and I was so devastated by the contradiction between the “All Loving, All Forgiving” Lord who was able to forgive and redeem all of my past transgressions when I came to Him from out of the world, but apparently didn’t have any love, mercy, or compassion to forgive or redeem me when I failed to be a flawless follower, that I closed my Bible and walked away from the Lord for nearly three years.Without going into all the details, let me just say, that during the season of my discontented rebellion, the Lord, Himself, show me that HIS love and forgiveness were indeedunconditional and available to me in spite of the behavior of His so called servants. And through a series of merciful and gracious encounters with Him, I found my way back to His awesome presence once again, but it took me a long time to trust anyone in leadership again.Fortunately, for me, the Lord ultimately led me to a Pastor who is the most gracious leader that I could ever hope to sit under. He isn’t a “soft on sin–greasy gracer”, He speaks the truth in love, gently but firmly confronts and requires accountability, but he never condemns, bashes, or berates and as a result of sitting under a “healthy” shepherd, I have never again left the fold, although I guarantee that I am still a failure at flawlessness.The thing that I have found most interesting about restoration through mercy (rather than judgment) is that it changes the dynamic of our relationship with the Father. When you truly know that you will be treated with grace, no matter what, you joyfully strive to live in such a way that the grace won’t need to be extended. (Does that make sense?) If church leaders could just get a hold of this principle, perhaps there would not be so many wounded sheep. Anyway, Shah, thank you for being bold enough to tell it like it so tragically often is.Sincerely, BK

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  21. I’m wondering if Scott’s confession to this senior church official was prompted by some subconscious need to force his separation from the church. Sounds like someone wanted an easy (albeit painful and embarrassing, yet sure-fire) way out in a manner that ensured no way back in. Not that I disagree with the method, but it sounds like Scott was acting out to *get* out. There might also have been some (well-justified) “I’ll show YOU”-type justice in the act. I think that if I had been screwed over by a manipulative organization I might choose a manner of departure that sprayed a little shame on the offending party. Good for Scott, I say.

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  22. Dear BK, thanks for taking the time to read my blog and post a comment. I am always grateful when people do that. I am glad that you have found a pastor who believes in restoration through mercy. Why do we always have to make sure that when we say a person is merciful that does not mean he/she is soft on sin. Which one of us dares to say that about Jesus? Can we be both? What makes anyone think that, somehow, if a person goes stray after I show him/her mercy, that is my fault. That if we show mercy, we also need to make sure the one on the receiving end of it is not ever going to fall again which, by the way, shifts the pastor’s position to a moral police, the kind they have in Muslim countries. I don’t see Jesus doing that. What you say in your last paragraph makes so much sense to me. I have to say I am ashamed of a few times when I decided to be the moral police when I was a pastor. I was too young in the ministry and the pressure that was put on me by older members was just too great. Today, I mostly try to take the position of a spiritual director. I try very hard to just ask enough questions that with the help of the Holy Spirit, the person I am talking to, will make his/her own decision. I hope this makes sense to you.ShahZam

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  23. Dear Troy:Is this like Helen of Troy and the Trojan Horse which appeared to be one thing, but in fact was something else???Your observation is very interesting. Maybe you should talk to Scott yourself? Unfortunately, the organization he worked for, like most Christian organizations, has no shame. They are always right! They always have an spiritual answer for why they did what they did. An answer that always puts the blame on people like Scott and frees them from admitting any guilt. They have a corner on the truth and those who question them are walking on thin-ice by messing with God’s anointed.

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  24. James 2:10-“For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one is guilty of breaking all.”

    We are All sinners. So no one has the right to pass judgments because none of us is righteous but God.

    The Bible is the Word of God.
    Confession is a big part of Christianity and it's necessary for repentance, it's necessary to be set free from bondage of sin. But we must be careful of being self righteous. While we rebuke another christian, we must watch ourselves so that we may not fall into sin ourselves. We as followers of Jesus Christ must be in the Word daily. Searching the scriptures with all of our hearts so that we will not fall into the trap of being taken advantage of by wolves dress as sheeps and for those who abuse their authority.
    Matthew 10:15-17:
    “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.”

    Therefore, do not put your trust on men but rather on God! Seek Him daily, study his word and have a personal relationship with God. So that you will discern and know the truth because the truth will set you free.

    True repentance looks like this-
    2 Corinthians 7:8-11

    “Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, BUT WORDLY SORROW BRINGS DEATH. See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”

    By knowing God's Word you will be free. Remember always-God is LOVE.

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