I recently heard about a church deacon beating and abusing his children. It broke my heart as one of the grown children told me the first-hand account. Sadly, several in the church knew about it and did nothing. He wasn’t removed as a deacon and continued at the church after the wife separated and took the children. He went on to do it again in his next marriage. Churches allow this to happen because they are afraid to discipline. The church is to rebuke those who continue in sin.
“Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning.”
Paul gives Timothy a critical lesson in leadership. The church cannot survive without Biblical discipline. Notice how Paul tells Timothy to rebuke those who continue in sin in front of everyone? It serves a dual purpose. First, it addresses the habitual sin of the person and lets everyone else know that it is occurring. Second, it serves as a warning to the rest of the church so that it will make them fearful of sinning.
The church needs more discipline. Too many stories have come out about those in leadership, not just pastors but elders and deacons, living secretive lives. They had a reputation in the church, so people thought they were untouchable, but they were caught in besetting sin. What’s worse is when a few people know, and nothing is done. Rebuking them in front of the church actually strengthens the church. Don’t be afraid to call out the repeat offender.
Afraid to Discipline
No one likes confrontation. It’s never easy, but that doesn’t mean we should avoid it altogether. Too many people have been damaged by a church that refused to discipline one of its own. You won’t be popular if you stand up for the truth, but it is for the church’s health. We are called to holiness as disciples, and a lax attitude toward sin will bring great destruction. Handle it with love, but don’t excuse the behavior. It will have a larger impact than you will ever know.