Was on a passage of Scripture that I am brutally familiar with...Matthew 18:15-17
15"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.' 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
When I was "found in sin" in the Baptist church I was attending at that time in my life, this is the Biblically justified Scripture they used to "handle me & my sin". First I was called to meet with a brother in the church, not knowing there would be another brother there. Then I was told to come meet with an Elder of my church, not knowing there would be 15 elders and a few of my friends there. Then I was asked to leave the church until I "got my life together".
Today's sermon showed this scripture to me in a totally new light. No one in today's sermon hid that there would be other people at meetings. Joe told us to first go to a person one-on-one. If that didn't work it out, ASK if you can bring in another person to help/mediate. If that doesn't work out, ASK the person you are working things through with to meet with others in the church. No one is shanghaied or surprised by the "others". It's a cooperative venture.
But the shocking part to me was the end. He spoke about the fact that Christ freely admitted that things wouldn't always work out between people. Even after speaking to them one-on-one, bringing a brother/sister to mediate and even after bringing it to the church in a private meeting. So, then, what does one do? We: "treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector".
Then, Joe shocked my socks off...He asked: And how did Christ treat pagans or tax collectors? And the answer is: With utmost respect and forgiveness!!! You don't throw them out or shun them. You treat them as you would an unbeliever who needs the saving Grace of GOD!!!!
I was STUNNED, you see, because that is what I had believed that Scripture meant...at least BEFORE I was kicked out of the church. I was thrilled to know that another Christian saw this scripture the way I had. That at our worst in behavior is when we need our brothers/sisters in the Lord the absolute most, and that to throw them out into the street simply isn't the Christian way to deal with them.