When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” – John 8:7
If I am ever quick to condemn another, then all I need to do is remember these words of Christ. Yet at this stage of my life, I rarely have a problem considering my own weaknesses! I just have to remember to do it before pointing out the failings in others. Pride definitely precedes destruction (or, at least, humiliation)!
On the other hand, a necessary mark of authenticity in our relationships (in and outside the church) is finding a way to confront sin that will both honor God’s holiness and His compassionate grace and mercy. Principles for church discipline are clearly stated in God’s Word and I have been a part of a church that handled this properly, but it is never easy to implement. It just has to be exercised in a humble, loving, restorative manner. The congregation that does not embrace this practice will always be less than God intends it to be.
Is it messy? Uncomfortable? Revealing? Yes, to all of these, but if we desire true fellowship with the saints then we must be at the same time both loving and accountable. ALL of us. ALL the time.
Love precedes discipline. – John Owen