Discipline And Giving Tough Love

In previous nuggets we have spoken on the different ways we can be judgmental, being judged, and how to minister to those struggling with sin. In this nugget we will discuss the issue of Discipline And Giving Tough Love.

God's Word makes it clear that there are times we are to judge sin and separate ourselves from Christians who are willfully walking in sin.

John 7:24

"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."
Notice Jesus did not say, do not judge. He said judge in a righteous way.

Romans 2:1

"Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things."
Again, it does not say do not judge. It does say do not judge someone if you are willing walking in the same sin.

1 Cor. 5:12-13

"For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves."
We should not judge unbelievers. But there is a time to judge the sinful actions of Christians.

1 Cor. 5:11

"But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he should be an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler-- not even to eat with such a one."
Notice again that it is talking about a Christian. And it is not talking about someone who struggles with immorality, anger, drinking, stealing-it is talking about someone whose lifestyle is these sins. It is talking about those who are addicted or consumed by a sin and are not taking the steps to get delivered and set free.


Why would God call us to judge the people listed above?

Two reasons:

1) So we do not allow the sinful behavior to come into our own lives (and the church) by being associated with the person.

2) To identify the problem and hopefully help the person to see the seriousness of their sin so that they will get help.

So there is a time for discipline and tough love. But it should be done in a biblical manner. There are steps to follow and there is a reason for these steps. It is to make sure that we are not judging the heart pr motives of a person incorrectly. The principle to follow is in Matthew.

Matthew 18:15-17

"And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16"But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 17"And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.

Why do we go to the person in private first? Maybe we will find out we were wrong in our interpretation of what they were doing. Or if we are correct, the brother may acknowledge his sin, repent of it and truly want to be set free. Then there is no need to go to anyone else about the sin unless the sin is such that requires public repentance.

The only time for strict, public discipline is when the person has an unrepentant heart and the church has followed the Matthew 18 principle. And the behavior is seriousness enough to require public awareness.

Our last nugget on this topic will be on the subject of what we do if we have been judged incorrectly.


Copyright 2001 Richard D. Dover. All rights reserved.
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Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations used are from the New American Standard Version (NASB).


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