I was thinking this morning about dealing with problems privately versus publicly. Oh how important it is to know which one must happen. If we deal with something publicly when it should be done in private then we expose someone but if we keep everything private then we can become accessories to crimes to avoid exposure.
"Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool." - Proverbs 17:9-10 ESV
"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church." - Matthew 18:15-17a ESV
It is out of order for the Church to know things that no one has discussed face to face first. But there is an order that escalates issues. People need layers of actual accountability. Men need to have someone who can rebuke them. They need someone who is willing to humbly get in their way as much as they need for there to be respect in the relationship just like a woman needs someone who will care that she is crying even if there is nothing to be done but to just stand there caring and listening.
I want to expose the abuser and cover the victim but issues are rarely that cut and dry. Many times this happens the other way around in this world and people bristle at the injustice of it.
By exposing the abuser we may inadvertently drag the victims out into the public as well. We need wisdom. Oh, Wisdom is so needed.
I carry some secrets that I will carry to my grave because there are situations that need to be covered. Exposure should sometimes happen for a season and a reason but sin is ultimately covered so I don't want to know people after the flesh either. God's history is a redemptive one. I want my history to be redemptive also.
"It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches." - Matthew 13:32 ESV
Some of these birds are dirty birds. The Church should be a place of rest for everyone but not a place to hide from everything.
"It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing." - 1 Corinthians 5:1-3 ESV
"For I wrote to you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure - not to put it too severely - to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him." - 2 Corinthians 2:4-8 ESV
"For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it - though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us." - 2 Corinthians 7:8-9 ESV
Even if something must be exposed the end result should be one where people 'suffer no loss.'
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." - Hebrews 12:11 ESV
This is God's work and I don't want to play God in people's lives.
It is a balance that we must find as we are on our knees. Formulas only go so far. We need God's heart and God's mind. We need courage. We need convictions. We need mercy. God is faithful to supply us with all we need.
Let our Churches be places of worship and voluntary accountability to spiritual authority.
This is not me rebuking anyone in particular. This me thinking about God's structure and marveling at it. This is me reminding you and myself that holiness is wonderful and that people need a place of refuge. People need to be covered and people need to know that they will be safe and that issues will be handled with clarity and discretion.
This is me reminding myself that as a man I must walk as a man.
God please bless us and raise us up as wise people that can make hard decisions with integrity. Real men and real women are so needed in this world. People with backbone and kindness. There is a gap but who will stand there? God. Help us to be the ones who do in our generation. Without You we can do nothing. With You all things are possible. Thank you God. Thank You. Thank You.