Is condemning the fallen bad for the Church?
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).