Very recently I commented to a blog and realized it was something I wanted to say to a larger audience. This is that comment, expanded for clarity.

Peter with the tax-collector

Peter with the tax-collector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If a believer does something wrong, go, confront [them] when the two of you are alone. If [they] listen to you, you have won back that believer. But if [they] do not listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation may be verified by two or three witnesses. If [they] ignore these witnesses, tell it to the community of believers. If [they] also ignore the community, deal with [them] as you would a heathen or a tax collector” (Matthew 18:15-17 God’s Word).

Alas, despite verbal homage to this process organized religion and self-righteous individuals have trouble implementing it; it curtails their power over others. Jesus’ process calls for compassion (“I’m doing this because I care”, not because “I want to prove me right or you wrong!”).

I was banished from a congregation even though in a secret meeting they admitted they didn’t follow God’s process because they “didn’t get around to it”.

The Tax Collector

The Tax Collector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And that’s the other part – in the Old Testament justice happened at the city gate where the whole story was available to everyone, and it was obvious if justice was done. Now we do it in secrecy (fake confidentiality) and play the devil in giving half-truths and innuendo to ensure the result in favour of the dominant power (which can be either the accused or the assembly), and to make completion for convenience look like careful adjudication.

I have also seen a person who truly committed a crime and the secrecy let them off the hook and they went on to another position where they could do the same! Wrong!

Compassion, due process, and openness express God’s model.

Note, in the process if someone refuses repentance, they are to be treated like a “heathen or a tax collector”. What are we to do with such people? Love them into the kingdom. Banishment is not an option! That part is almost always missing. Of course, excommunication is so arrogant it bears hardly a mention, since no one in Christ could ever believe the edict of organized religion could  keep someone out of God’s heaven.

Sadly, the motivation has to be love, but that is often replaced by deceit or power.

So, which is more important to you, justice at any cost covered with compassion, or getting the judgment done quickly for the convenience? Is resolving a situation a job done, or a job well done?

God knows…

Enhanced by Zemanta