How to treat a sinner…

The authors of Unseen Warfare give some very sage advise when it comes to witnessing someone else sin, and I think that it is some advice that has largely been neglected today. People tend to have this image of Christians that we should be perfect, and that if we aren’t perfect then we aren’t true Christians. The reality of the fact though is that the only difference between a true Christian and a non-Christian is that we as Christians recognize, acknowledge, and attempt to cut off our sin. We still sin. It is part of our fallen nature. With that in mind, Unseen Warfare states:

Never allow yourself boldly to judge your neighbour; judge and condemn no one, especially for the particular bodily sin of which we are speaking [lust]. If someone has manifestly fallen into it, rather have compassion and pity for him. Do not be indignant with him or laugh at him, but let his example be a lesson in humilty to you; realising that you too are extremely weak and as easily moved to sin as dust on the road, say to yourlf: ‘He fell today, but tomorrow I shall fall.’

Rather than seeing someone sinning, or who has sinned, and thinking like the Publican “At least I am not like them” we should be moved to feel compassion for them since we, like them, are just as vulnerable, and indeed if we get into a habit of judging others and feeling ourselves better than them then we will fall into the worst sin of all, <b>pride</b>.

Imagine it like this: You are in the middle of a ferocious war. It is you and the rest of humanity against an evil pervading force. Do you laugh at or scorn a member of your own army when they fall? No! You realize what it was that made them fall so that you are not attacked the same way, and then you mourn for your fallen comrade.

As the saying goes, we are not an island. Each and every single human being on this earth is a creation of the Lord God Almighty, and so it is a sad thing when any single one of them falls away from the way which God would have us.

IC | XC
—-+—-
NI |KA

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3 responses to “How to treat a sinner…

  • markpenrith

    Hi,

    Not do anything to rebuke, exhort or encourage a brother who is in sin might be a sin in itself.

    I’m thinking of Hebrews 3:12 – 13, “Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is {still} called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

    There’s other verse like 2 Timothy 3:16 – 17 which says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

    Seems that Scripture would have us holding each other accountable while we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    What do you think?

  • Jordan

    Bottom line is that ‘sinners’, or people that don’t know God still are human just like you and I. They need God as much, if not more than you and I. Remember Jesus hung out with the scum of society, the bottom of the bucket.

    You might enjoy my new blog:
    http://theriverjordan.net/stop-fighting.

  • Doulos

    @markpenrith:

    I would say that it is only our place to correct someone if they’ve fallen away from a particular doctrine of the Christian faith. If I see someone giving into their passions and getting really angry at someone else, or if I hear that they’re going to strip clubs or something like that I mention to them that it is sinful behaviour. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to look down at them, or preach to them and place myself above their ‘lowely sinful behaviour.’

    @Jordan

    You’re close! We shouldn’t look down on sinners because, as you said, they need God, and they too are human and are trying to struggle against the passions and (sometimes) trying to live a holy life but falling short. But the bottom line is actually this:

    Those ‘sinners’ include us as well.

    It is said that all fall short of the glory of God and so it is folly to believe that just because we now profess to be Christians it means that we can stop struggling to do good, fighting against the evil logismoi, the sinful thoughts, and think that we do not still have to work for our salvation. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to say that we can save ourselves by doing good work, but if you are truley struggling to live a life as God would want, then the expression of that struggle is going to be in works. For example: If I have full faith my God, that because of his sacrifice he has made clear the path for my reunion with Him and a chance to strive to return to the state of Adam before the Fall, and what I have to do to do that is follow God’s will and forget about my will, then I’m going to: give money to the poor because it teaches me to value what I have while at the same time not overvalue it; I’m going to act like I am the lowest creature on earth because it will teach me humility and that God is truley the King of Creation and I just one of his creations; I will fast on the prescribed fasting days because it teaches me how dependent I am on God to bless me and ensure I have enough food to live on while also teaching me how to use my faith in God to overcome the way we humans so easily give into the passionate urge to eat whenever we feel the slightest hungry….

    And in all of those things I fail: sometimes I let my attention stray to a beautiful girl, sometimes I actively go against what God would have me to do because I, me personally, really want to do something else.

    Bottom line is that we are all sinners, and we are all brothers in sisters by virtue of being children of God. So instead of putting down, condemning, and judging those who do not live up to the standards of God, we should embrace them, and love them, and see that we too have the very same weakness as them and that we are all, each and every single one of us, struggling against ourselves to live how God wants us to live.

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