On the way into work this morning, I listened to a sermon called Love Without Wax (click here to watch/listen) and something stood out to me. It was 1 Timothy 5:20-21 which reads:
“Those who sin should be reprimanded in front of the whole church; this will serve as a strong warning to others. I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.“
That makes me think a few things. First, doesn’t that mess with our modern sensibilities about what is kind and nice and loving? I mean, we like so much better the command in Matthew 18:15-17a that reads: “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church.“
The case made in the sermon is that the verse from Matthew has to do with a sin against you and how you are to respond while the instruction for Timothy was for someone committing a sin publicly. I think a perfect example of this would be how Jesus dealt with the money changers in the temple. He didn’t take them aside, one at a time, and tell them with a smile he didn’t appreciate the way they were handling the situation of making a living. Isn’t that what we prefer though? Isn’t that what we like? Ok, truthfully, we don’t even do that well most of the time. We don’t like confrontation. We actually hate confrontation, most of us, unless it has to do with standing directly in the way of what we want. Here are two passages instructing just that; confrontation. One privately and one publicly. Ouch, that’s not easy!
Second, the passage from Timothy says “without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone.” That’s hard too! If you’re a church leader and someone else is someone who helps out, supports the Church, regularly shows up and contributes with any resource available, and has a heart set after God – they are harder to rebuke then the person that shows up every fourth sunday, never helps out with anything, doesn’t act like they care about anything but themselves. What about your husband or your wife? What about that best friend that’s always been there for you? What about the person that takes you out to lunch all the time? What about the person that defends you to others? Are they easy or hard to confront?
Let’s be honest; we like to be liked. Some of us go as far to even try to please everyone around us. A lot of times this becomes our drive. We’d rather not have people around us be mad at us, so we try to put on the best face for these people and put out any of the fires we see. I heard Paul Tripp recently refer to people pleasers as idolators. They’ve made the opinion people hold of them the most important thing; made it their drive; made it the only way to function properly – to have no one mad at them. Really, if you bare it for what it is, it’s an ego stroke. When you like me, you are nice to me. You make my life easier and say nice things about me. You think warm fuzzies in my direction when we are agreeable. Unfortunately truth often doesn’t allow that to happen all the time.
Something that just struck me as worthwhile today…