Is condemning the fallen bad for the Church?


Christ and fhe Adulterous Woman

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:17).

Everybody stumbles and everybody fall sometimes; including the most pious among us. However, as Christians we routinely ignore these fundamental biblical facts, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)… “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). Still many in Christendom and other religions too, have adopted the holier-than-thou personality and set themselves up as judge and jury. Consequently, instead of helping to strengthen and pick up the fallen, they selflessly unleash judgment base on their emotions. This is a dangerous practice, especially when the judge and jury themselves have bigger planks in their eyes than that they seek to remove from another person’s eye.

I have seen many young Christian women got thrown out of the Church because they got pregnant. Sometimes even the parents side with the draconian tribunal, leaving the victim feeling hopeless and abandoned. Everyone in the Church understands that salvation is a gift from God, which none of us deserve. The apostle Paul said it best, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. It is not by your own merit; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8). Hence, when a brother or a sister falls it is the duty of the Church to encourage and support the person rather than being judge and jury.

This premise that a sin committed publicly, deserves a harsher punishment than that  committed privately is a fallacy. Jesus debunk this argument when religious leaders brought a women caught committing adultery to Him. The religious leaders of the day were expecting Jesus to hand down the ultimate punishment–death by stoning, but He surprised them. Jesus did not condemn the woman or her accusers. As a matter of fact, He did not utter a condemning word.

Here, is John’s account of the incident: Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in adultery. Furthermore, when they set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, we caught this woman in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. What do you say” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accused Him. However, Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, became convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. Then Jesus was alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had straightened Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has not anyone one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11).

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38 comments

  1. This is an excellent post, Noel. I love the way you tied it all in with Scripture and what we “should do.” This was very well thought out and thought provoking. Good job! I hope all who reads this, truly thinks about it, as what you have stated here is nothing but truth. God Bless, SR

      1. Thanks a lot my friend! The Church often turns people off because of rigid man made rules.

        God blesses.

    1. Thanks so much for your comment S.R. Welcome back! I sincerely hope everything is back to normal.

      I got the urge to write this post after I had reread the parable of the loss sheep, Luke 15:1-7.

      God blesses.

      1. Things are a lot better and so am I, and I am sure God is also, now that things have settled down a little. I learned so much through this Noel. I do not know if I told you or not, as I tried to get to as many as I could back then. Do you remember “Tuffy” my family member who had cancer? Two weeks ago completely healed, thank You so much God. I did not know it but he had been battling it for 21/2 years. That was the greatest blesssing of all. He said, “For the first time in my life, I now look at life and see it.” Thanks so much for prayers Noel! All of you prayed when I could not. God Bless, SR

      2. Glory Hallelujah! Lord, thou art truly magnificent. I rejoice with thee, S.R. God blesses.

    1. I appreciate your input my friend! It is always a pleasure to to hear from you…The God Book says the Son of man came to seek and to save the lost.

      God blesses.

  2. My Dear Bro. Noel:
    You are always faithful to challenge us with the Word of God and get us thinking. I’ve heard this message so many times that I sometimes avoid commenting on it.

    I have come to believe that the underlying cause of misunderstanding regarding the point of judgment is this….people don’t understand words.

    I believe that there are Believers who are judgemental, but there are many who are simply “ADMONISHING”, which can seem or sound like judgment to those who don’t know the difference.

    Example:

    2 Thessalonians 3:14-16 (KJV)
    14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.
    15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

    5.Romans 15:14
    And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

    6.Colossians 3:16
    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

    The definition of admonish is:
    1. to reprove firmly but not harshly
    2. to advise to do or against doing something; warn; caution

    While the definiton of judgment is this:
    judgment, judgement [ˈdʒʌdʒmənt]
    n
    1. the faculty of being able to make critical distinctions and achieve a balanced viewpoint; discernment
    2. (Law)
    a. the decision or verdict pronounced by a court of law
    b. an obligation arising as a result of such a decision or verdict, such as a debt
    c. the document recording such a decision or verdict
    d. (as modifier) a judgment debtor
    3. the formal decision of one or more judges at a contest or competition
    4. a particular decision or opinion formed in a case in dispute or doubt
    5. an estimation a good judgment of distance
    6. criticism or censure
    7. (Philosophy / Logic) Logic
    a. the act of establishing a relation between two or more terms, esp as an affirmation or denial
    b. the expression of such a relation
    against one’s better judgment contrary to a more appropriate or preferred course of action
    (Law)
    sit in judgment
    a. (Law) to preside as judge
    b. to assume the position of critic
    in someone’s judgment in someone’s opinion

    ——————————————————————————–
    Judgment [ˈdʒʌdʒmənt]
    n
    1. (Christian Religious Writings / Theology) the estimate by God of the ultimate worthiness or unworthiness of the individual (the Particular Judgment) or of all mankind (the General Judgment or Last Judgment)

    As fellow brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ and the Kingdom, we need to have a better understanding of what the Word of God teaches; we need to also understand the difference between whether someone is judging or admonishing us. If we don’t correct or reprove a brother or sister who is in fault, we will be held accountable:
    (Galatians 6:1)
    Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

    Clearly we have a responsibility to one another, but it can sometimes come off as being judgmental and sometimes it really is being judgmental.

    I say we should examine ourselves frequently, judge our own selves so that we are not found at fault in The Day of the Lord.

    Minister Glenda

    1. That was quite a mouthful Minister Glenda. I agree. However, most Churches, including the one I attend do not stop at admonishing the victim. They take things a step or two further, leaving the victims disgraced and abandoned.

      The parable of the lost sheep, Luke 15:1-7 motivated me to write this post. I understand it is a little controversial, but I could not help it. I was out in the park enjoying nature and breathing fresh air when the Lord put the passage on my heart.

      Thanks so much. I appreciate your input. God blesses.

      1. Yes, Noel….it was a mouthful (LOL). I should mention that this message was very informative and well written. I can relate to God putting something in your heart or spirit and feeling compelled to go with it….good for you! That’s being obedient to the voice of the Lord!

        Minister Glenda

  3. This one speaks to my heart, having been one who had been judged in the past. Living with it, and learning to love myself again were hard tasks, and now I am one to be certain of this. The good Lord has given me no instructions on judging others, so I cannot. I will call out their behavior, but not their persons. We all will answer for that someday.
    Love this lesson Noel! Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much for your input fresthoughtz. It was the parable of the lost sheep that motivated me to write this post. I have read the passage many times, but this past Saturday God opened my eyes to the truth. Going forward, I will not hold my peace whenever I witness another fallen brother or sister chasten publicly. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17).

      1. Indeed. My husband often quotes that particular scripture. He helps remind me that I am not the sum of my bad actions, but the sum of ALL of them, and my improvements are appreciated. You and he are of the same mold it seems!
        Fran

  4. While the Church – and individual Christians – should not be unloving or condemnatory, they should not compromise on the standards God has laid down for His people. Rather, they should uphold them strongly. They are not judging, but agreeing with God’s judgements.

    The Church’s ministry, as well as pronouncing God’s Word and God’s ways, is to show mercy and love to those who err. It is a means to restoration and forgiveness and help. The Church should be a refuge for the repentant sinner, who should be helped and encouraged by them: not condemned.

    1. Amen! That is part of what Christ thought His disciples. He said, “I have come not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32). The parable of the lost sheep teaches us a powerful lesson. When a member of the flock strays we should seek it until we find it. “Likewise, I say unto everyone, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents” (Luke 15:10).

      Thanks so much Angela for shedding light on this vital subject matter. I appreciate your stopping by and sharing your thoughts as always. God blesses.

    1. Thanks so much For stopping by and leaving a comment Beverley. Looking forward to hearing from you again in the future.

  5. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” ….Lest thou also be tempted. Before pointing the finger at anyone else, these words should be considered, and very contemplatively at that. I would say, that when one finds themselves in that place of being extremely judgmental, that should open the door unto them to reconsider their relationship with God. Unfortunately, in so many cases that just doesn’t happen, because they feel they’re doing the right thing by “shunning” an individual who may have fallen. It is truly a sad commentary in the world of Christendom today! Let us be about the business of restoring our brothers and sisters in the Lord!

    This was a wonderful post, Noel. I’m sorry I got in on the tail end of the conversation, but I’m playing a bit of catch-up. God bless you, and keep up the great work! :-)

    Paulette

    1. Thanks so much for your input Minister Paulette, The only thing I would add to your response is the question, “what would Jesus Do?”

      God blesses.

  6. What happened to the boys who got those girls pregnant? Did they have to stand up to a tribunal and get kicked out of church too? No? I’m not surprised.

    Hilary

    1. You are exactly right! The boys generally get off with a reprimand.
      Thank you so much for stopping by Hilary. I appreciate your input. God blesses.

  7. I appreciate this post. Not only does the church condemn young women who become pregnant (but leave the males without a word), but the same treatment happens to parishioners and ministers alike. I know a pastor whose wife had an affair, was a drug addict/alcoholic and had mental issues, who then accused her pastor-husband of an affair. He was fired, defrocked, his church board fired, and the denomination took the church property – all without any evidence, witnesses, or or mercy. Once he was fired, she divorced her pastor-husband and moved in with her boyfriend.

    It’s sad to think that these kinds of things happen. They destroy people, create a dislike of the church, and sometimes foster a dislike of God.

    I know this former pastor very well. His name is “me.”

  8. Noel,
    Awesome, inspiring message. I am writing a blog series I’m calling, at least at this point, “The Church: Is It Drawing People Or Driving Them Away?” You hit the nail on the head. I feel much the same way that you do. But, in my series, I have to ask the question, “What do we do?” The “Church” is the Bride of Christ. Jesus died on the cross for the “Church.” My premise is, I believe the church in it’s present condition is driving people away, not drawing them in. But the church is supposed to be the beautiful, unblemished, holy Bride of Christ. Where is the church headed, and what are we to do?
    Fantastic Post! my brother. I thank you for your insight, your passion and your comments.

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