This is a follow up to yesterday’s post. Today I want to take another approach… when someone you love is assaulted by another, can you retaliate? I’m thinking particularly of a loved one, or… for ministers… a congregation. WHAT? Yes, believe it or not there are many… in most every community… that speak harshly toward other congregations in their community, usually the ones they’ve left that are “successful” in their eyes.
Paul wrote we are to be angry and not sin (CLICK). And we know there were times Jesus was angry (John 2:13-17). So there ARE times it is proper to be angry and do something about it. As one preacher said, “Sometimes it is as much a sin NOT to be angry as it is to be angry wrongly.” So, when it is proper to be angry and respond?
First, It is right to be angry when God and His glory is defamed.
Second, It is right to be angry when the Gospel is defamed or misrepresented.
Third, It is right to be angry when The Church… God’s people… are attacked.
Fourth, It is right to be angry when a person who is weak is attacked by someone stronger to take advantage of them.
Fifth, It is right to be angry when a congregation (Or ministry, or Minister) is lied about in a community.
These of course are not an exhaustive list… but events I have experienced and know of personally. Now the question becomes… when it is right to be angry, what is the course of action to take that God would approve of? That is easy… because the Scripture sets forth plainly what is to be done.
One: Confront the person one on one to address their impropriety. This is found in Mt 18:15-20. Keep in mind that the goal of confrontation is RECONCILIATION, not to win or beat the person down (See Gal 6:1). If the goal is not restoration and healing, the motive is improper and ungodly and will not be honored by God.
Two: If the person is unwilling to repent or be restored, if they continue in their rebellion and virulent behavior… give them to God and let Him handle them (1 Tim 1:20; Ro 12:19). At this point it is best to NOT speak evil of them, but DO warn others of the person’s improper behavior (2 Tim 2:14).
Personal Comment: I know what it is like to be the subject of rumors in the Christian setting. Some true… more not. Right or wrong, I have chosen the path of turning the other cheek. I’ve chosen not to attack those (Which Included ministerial staff members!) who misrepresented me and my actions. I will say this… When it comes to protecting the unity of the faith and the health of the church… had I had it to do over again… I’d go after those who Satan was using to hinder the Gospel. There IS a time to be angry… but not to sin.
Doing this rightly takes a lot of prayer, reflection, meditation, and examining Scripture and the heart.
Just a thought or two for consideration.