Why Kind, Gentle, Nice Christians, Aren’t
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
One of the greatest sources of enablement the abuser enjoys in our churches comes from what on the surface looks like the kindest, gentlest, most merciful, loving Christian in the church. In the name of “mercy and love and grace” this kind of individual reminds us frequently that
- All sinners are the same.
- All of us are just as sinful as anyone else
- God requires us to show mercy and forgiveness to all
- Everyone is welcome in our churches
The single statement by the Apostle Paul above disproves every single one of these notions. Notice his points very carefully:
- The Corinthians were sinning in a shocking way by permitting this man to continue in their church
- This man’s sin was so shocking that not even pagans would tolerate it
- The Corinthians were not showing this man mercy and love; rather they were motivated by sinful arrogance, boasting about how broad-minded they were.
- It was a sad, mournful situation bringing shame to Christ’s name.
Many Christians today do not like to hear about abuse and abusers in their church. They don’t like to be told that such a person is guilty of a particularly evil wickedness. They don’t want to be called to put that evil out from among them. And they don’t like to hear that a person who lives like an abuser simply is not and cannot be a Christian.
Consequently, they gut the gospel of any kind of requirement for repentance. They preach a cheap grace that does not necessarily transform a person’s life. In their public prayers they love to announce that God loves us all, no matter what, no matter how, no matter….well, no matter. He just loves us all and in the end most everyone is a Christian who says they are a Christian. Including the abuser.
This is not kindness. It is not the gentleness of Jesus. It isn’t nice. It is arrogance and it is sin, just like Paul rebuked the Corinthians for. It is, shall we say, a false gospel. And it cruelly oppresses the weak and downtrodden.
The Bible does not teach us that God’s mercy and grace are infinite. Did you hear that? Let me say it again. The Bible does not teach that God’s mercy and grace are infinite. If they were, there would be no hell. But then, there would be no justice either and God would be found guilty of injustice.
“ Let him who has done this be removed from among you.”