Manipulation and Control in the Guise of Church Discipline!

Glenn's sayings;

The scripture used to validate religious spiritual abuse is; Matthew 18:15-18. In this passage, Jesus says
“If your brother or sister sins against you, go and correct them when you are alone together. If they listen to you, then you’ve won over your brother or sister. But if they won’t listen, take with you one or two others so that every word may be established by the mouth of two or three witnesses. But if they still won’t pay attention, report it to the church. If they won’t pay attention even to the church, treat them as you would a Gentile and tax collector. I assure you that whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven. And whatever you loosen on earth will be loosened in heaven."

Preachers and others on different levels of the establish hierarchy of their theological persuasion quote this passage with emphasis on "treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector" as a justification for shunning someone.

This passage records the words of Jesus therefore, it follows that the actions of Jesus should tell us HOW one should treat a pagan or a tax collector. How did Jesus treat these folks? Did He shun them and protect himself from them so as to not let their sinfulness infect Him, as sometimes is the way this passage is applied? No He did not!

Jesus treated pagans and tax collectors, as well as prostitutes, thieves, and all other kinds of "undesirables" with love and respect. He didn't just talk to them for the purpose of encouraging them to get their act together or they will be outcast and shunned.

When He encountered Zacchaeus the tax collector (Luke 19:1-10), he didn't even wait for Zacchaeus to say a word before saying that He would dine with him. Zacchaeus' declaration of turning over a new leaf was in response to Jesus love. Grace came first, then repentance. But in the church it has been reversed, repentance is demanded first and Grace is only offered as long as you remain in good standing with the denomination.

It will do well to remember that Jesus' harshest words were reserved for the religious people that thought themselves too spiritual to associate with the common "sinner." He called them "broods of vipers," among other things. It was the religious people who wanted to exclude everyone they didn't approve of who conspired with the Romans to kill Jesus.

So if you find someone in a place where you think they're harming themselves and others through their sin, if you've talked with them about it and they disagreed, then you talked it through with others and the whole group talked to that person and they still disagreed, what do you do? Keep loving them anyway. Don't shun them. Don't become so preoccupied with your own sanctification that you throw a relationship away over a disagreement. Love them. Eat with them. Show them that you'll never give up on them. That's what helps people understand that they're forgiven and that they can make a new start.

If the people belonging to the religious machine practiced more radically inclusive love and less superiority and exclusion under the guise of "church discipline," the rest of the world wouldn't find people in Christianity to be so at odds with the Christ we claim to belong to.

Love, compassion, kindness and forgiveness outranks knowledge as a basis for action.


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