Imagine if, during the recent sex abuse summit at the Vatican, Pope Francis came out and said, “Stop being so judgmental: sex abuse is not that big of a deal.” Can imagine the furor that would justifiably result? Why? Because we know that sin actually hurts people. Imagine if I, as a pastor, continued to employ someone who was stealing from the offering plate. Our church members would be justifiably angry with me.
The most frequent complaint outsiders make against the church is that it is filled with hypocrites; in other words, the problem outsiders see in the church is that Christians are not holy enough. Sin is a problem.
Today’s passage shows Jesus takes sin in his church seriously, and gives practical steps we can follow to confront sin in our midst. Of course it is the case that we ourselves are sinners, but that doesn’t absolve us of the responsibility to lovingly confront active sin.
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