Jesus is the greatest example of a person being hurt by those within the Body and by Body, by this I mean His own followers. Some of the deepest wounds and the sharpest arrows come from the Body, which is the Church, or the Believers in Jesus Christ. Why do we hurt one another and cause such pain, why do we think it is our business to straighten out someone else in the Body, whom we think is not doing things the way a Believer in Jesus Christ should?
Oh I hear the scriptures quoted about examining the fruit, but when I read those scriptures about bearing fruit – it is Jesus who is the one who straightens out the heart of the Believer who is not bearing fruit. The fig tree in Matthew 21:19 is a parable acted out; in taking a little license with it and using this passage as a good example rather than a pure fact, here is my thought.
Jesus was hungry, He went to the fig tree, He found no fruit so He cursed it. The tree looked great from a distance, appealing even, but up close – no fruit – useless for anything but firewood, which is what it probably became after it withered upon Jesus’ curse.
My point here, is Jesus didn’t go to the fig tree, examine if for its fruit, then tell His disciples to curse the fig tree. This “judgement” if you will of the fig tree is left strictly to Jesus. There is a time and a place when one Believer should confront another Believer who has sinned, and this is when that Believer is directly affected by the Believer who sinned against them.
Jesus said to confront your fellow Believer privately, but to do so in the love of the Lord; not to wound them spiritually. Rather He says to draw them gently back into a right relationship with you, and with God. May I suggest that by wounding them harshly and deeply on a spiritual level, you may lose a fellow Believer, possibly your own friend – but you may cause them to sin further or even walk away from their own faith in Christ and or from the Body, which is in Christ Jesus.
You may say it is their own choice they make to do those things if you confront them with their sin. Well, yes these are choices they can make of their own free will; however, another Believer can push them over the brink by their own self-righteousness. The self-righteous Believer can, in their own anger sin against another Believer who sinned against them, by harshly and repeatedly hitting that Believer over the head with their sin.
What form can sin take in a Believer?
May I suggest to you, it can be something as easy as getting angry at another Believer, even when the other Believer is your spouse or sibling, yelling at them and hurting their feelings? It can take the form of lying, stealing, adultery, or sin can also take the shape of being judgmental of a Body of Believers, within a church setting.
Matthew 18 deals with Jesus’ disciples desiring to be greater than another disciple.
Matthew 18 deals with tempting or causing other Believers to sin.
God tells us about in “judgement” or those Believers who are busy looking down on other Believers in Matthew 18.
Finally Matthew 18 deals with unforgiveness in a Believer.
For it is God who decides what each Believer is to be doing for His Kingdom. God who tells the Body of Believers within a Church setting what He wants them to do as a group of Believers, in the community around them. Additionally, each Believer in the Body of Christ, within the Church setting, has their own gifts and talents, their own leading from God on how best to use those gifts and Talents to serve Him in the Church setting.
Furthermore, each Believer has a right and an obligation to look to God for guidance on whether they should be involved in one ministry or another within a Church group setting. No Believer ought find themselves belittled, pressured, guilt-ed, harangued, embarrassed or harassed, or otherwise forced, by other Believers within a Church setting, into taking over or performing any ministry into which God has not called them.
Caveat: When a Believer in the Body of Christ, is called by God has to be a member and attend an organized Church Body (in Christ) – and this Body of Christ has Leaders within, who also have been called by God to lead guide and direct the Church Body; then the Believer who feels led to a particular ministry within a Church Body also has an obligation to approach the Leaders to discuss with them how that ministry should take place. If Leadership, upon hearing the member’s request to perform a particular ministry, says no to the Believer, then that Believer faces a difficult decision. This decision should never be made lightly or glibly, it should be done very prayerfully.
During further prayer, the Believer must prayerfully seek: first, was it truly God leading them to do this particular ministry or was it just their own desire to go about their own ideal “ministry” within the Body? Second, if it was God, then the Believer needs to go back to the Leadership to seek their sanction and prayers regarding such a ministry once again. If the Leaders are any kind of Leaders, they will have already been in prayer over this since your last meeting with them.
However, if the Leaders once again deny the Believer the opportunity complete the ministry to which they feel led by God to accomplish within the Church Body; then the Believer has yet another choice to make. Follow the Leadership of the Body and prayerfully wait on God to change the hearts of the Leadership – or leave this Body in Christ and go to another Church Body, which is open to this Believer performing the ministry to which God has truly called them.
Here, and hear, in this we have to be very careful, because God is not a God of confusion, either in an individual – or within a Church Body. So, if God is going to lead a Believer in Christ who is also a member of the Body of Christ underneath the Leadership and auspices of a Church Body; then God will also let the Leaders know this ministry is needed as well. This is a rule rather than an exception. This is why I give this caveat. It is absolutely necessary to prayerfully seek God’s will in all things and to never believe yourself greater than those He has placed in Leadership, for it is they who will be held accountable for any action or lack thereof within the Body, and outside the Body, meaning within the community.
A Body of Christ, the Church, works together, which means one Believer cannot work their purpose without another Believer completing their purpose within the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
Having said these things, may get back to my original point and I suggest to you it is long past time when we Christians (who are not in a Leadership position within the Church Body), who are fellow Believers in Christ and of the Body of Christ as a whole in this world – stop wasting time running around “checking the fruit” in any way shape or form; leaving this up to God to handle, and to start looking beyond the Body focusing instead on their own work God has for each of His Believers?
Some of the deepest wounds and the sharpest arrows come from the Body, which is the Church, or the Believers in Jesus Christ. Why do we hurt one another and cause such pain, why do we think it is our business to straighten out someone else in the Body, whom we think is not doing things the way a Believer in Jesus Christ should?
While we as Believers are so busy going around fixing the problems within the Body of Believers, which our own sins have created, there are the lost and dying in the world waiting to hear the Gospel. May I further suggest we have too much unforgiveness and bitterness, which eating away at our faith and turning people away from the Gospel, but are we even aware of it?
Finally, may I suggest we Believers get the heck off God’s judgement seat, it’s a really bad fit – He doesn’t share, and mind our own business about the Kingdom’s work?