People today use all kinds of excuses to justify their unwholesome talking about other people. They use all types of reasons to disobey the Scriptures in talking to other people or other pastors about their grievances against another person or church leader. Jesus, in Matthew 18.15, is clear on how we are to try and restore relationships with people (first privately). Really, without even realizing it, people, both Christians and pagans, are heavily influenced by humanism which promotes one’s own rights and individualism above the Scriptures. Many Christians verbally acknowledge the supreme position that the Bible is inspired by God and is to be obeyed. However, experientially, the majority of Christians live their lives under the philosophy of humanism, which places man, not God, as the foundation for all thoughts, motives and actions. Even those under the law know “mentally” what they ought to do, but their souls (will, mind, and emotions) have not been trained and transformed in the image of God. Yes, as a believer, our spirit is regenerated but our soul is carnal and filled with self (humanism). It is only through a perpetual relationship with Jesus, which produces agape (divine) love where a person’s will is subjected to the will of God through the Word and the Spirit, that we as people can be used by God to heal and forgive others through the ministry of reconciliation. Do not be mistaken, this reconciliation process often involves unconditional love through confrontation. There is a way in which we are supposed to confront one another without alienating them through our wrong attitudes. The goal of all ministry is reconciliation. If your motivation is not to reconcile a person back to God and restore the relationship between the brethren, then it is better not to confront them until this divine motivation has been fostered.
On page 3 of the syllabus for his class BICC505: Healing The Wounded Heart, Rev. Jack Frost states, “It is important for those in ministry to understand that it is okay to be wounded. Jesus was!!! Even though Christ was whole and complete in Himself, He was also wounded and bruised (Isaiah 53:3-5). Because of the Cross and its ability to bring death to the old and breathe life into the new, Christ was able to take the focus off His woundedness and place His focus on the ability of the Cross to use His wounds to bring healing to others and to transform the world (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4). This is our experience in Christ. In Him, we are being transformed day by day by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2) and the ‘renewing of the spirit of our mind’ (Ephesians 4:23). We must daily ‘lay aside the old self’ and ‘put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteous and holiness of the truth’ (Ephesians 4:22-24).”
Yes, every person born in this world has been rejected and continues to be rejected on a fairly continuous basis. Each one of us suffers from hurts and wounds. This is clearly understood by Christ, who desires to “bind up the broken hearted” (Isaiah 61.1-2). Jesus wants to heal us! He wants to just love on us. Understand that we cannot be loved anymore by God no matter how many years we serve him sacrificially. Neither does God increase His love for us as we grow in sanctification. God loves us unconditionally. This agape love is described in a word called justification. God loves us the same no matter how much we allow our carnal man to manifest and cause people problems. When we are regenerated by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are justified but not sanctified. This sanctification process is a lifelong journey. We as Christians need to be careful in the manner in which we approach people in regards to their weaknesses, faults and/or sins during their sanctification journey. There is a big difference between someone developing daily in the fruits of the Holy Spirit and a person living a life that involves sins unto death. The first person needs our encouragement grounded in the agape love of God. They do not need us to attack them but to love them. Our goal is to help them grow in the sanctification process, not to embarrass or expose them; this would show our own woundedness and selfishness. Likewise, the second person also needs our encouragement and agape love and will likely need to go down the pathway of restoration to the body of Christ. Committing sins unto death need genuine repentance and this person needs to lovingly be encouraged to do this. Sins unto death include: Adultery, lying, stealing, murmuring, gossiping, murder, premarital sex, etc. These sins must be repented of before our spirit leaves our body as they can sentence one to the lake of fire. People do not understand the seriousness of gossip and criticism. It separates and destroys the brethren. It initiates hostility and wars. God will not allow this type of self-serving evil to go on throughout eternity. It will be judged, and only the peacemakers will live with him throughout the ages.
On pages 56 - 57 of the Basic Seminar Manual, Theophostic Prayer Ministry, Dr. Ed M. Smith states, “Wounds differ from sin in that wounds are usually others inflicted…while sin is self-inflicted by willful choice…Wounds are not sin, as are lying, stealing, adultery, lust, hate, murder or coveting. Wounds are outcomes of actions by life or others actions against us, resulting in our false interpretations. As a result, the pain that surfaces from these unresolved wounds often motivates us to sin. However—and this is important—if I make a willful choice to express my wounds by acting out in ways contrary to God’s holiness, then I sin…Though there are multiple elements found in a person sinning, the bottom line is, we sin simply because we choose to. My being emotionally wounded may motivate and influence my choices but it never dictates them…What I am suggesting here is that sins and emotional, lie-based wounds are dealt with in different ways since they are rooted in separate issues…This is a distinction between re-generation that occurs at salvation and mind renewal that is a life-long process…”
Saul, Absalom, Miriam, Korah, Judas and others all had reasons for getting upset over the leadership of Samuel, David, Moses and Jesus but God held them accountable anyway! People always have excuses for their behavior (slander, conspiracy, gossip and rebellion) yet their excuses are not accepted by God. The basic fundamental core issue here is that God has placed authority on earth to act on his behalf. People do not want to come under God’s authority or control, therefore, their soul will rebel unless it is submitted to the will of God by transforming their mind with the Word of God and making a choice to deny their pride. The rebellion, outwardly, can look very innocent and sincere. Good people get caught up in rebellion. Good people hurt other good people. Good people have pride that can get offended. Their soul (will-mind-emotions) gets hurt unless they are constantly, by choice, submitting their will to the will of God. If they fail to submit themselves in such a way, then, when they see some real lack of perfection (sanctification) in a person or some perceived lack of sanctification of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in a person, they often seek out another sympathetic person(s) and discuss the issue amongst themselves. They want that other person to go with them and help them correct and/or rebuke that person who has offended them with what they perceive, real or imaginary, as sin. Following Christ’s instruction for reconciliation (Matthew 18.15-20) by meeting privately with the person first is excused as they rationalize their reasons for disobeying our Lord’s protocol. They cannot recognize their own lack of agape love and their lack of sanctification that has spurned them on to their decision to break God’s commandment for protecting a brother’s reputation and for the possibility of successful renewal and building of the relationship and brother. Often the biblical mandate is broken because, in actuality, they cannot see their own pride and corrupt heart-motivation which the Bible describes as “despicably evil and no one can know it but God” (paraphrase of Jeremiah 17.9-10). Consequently, the injured party now wants to get revenge more than he wants the relationship to become healed, thus becoming healthier and stronger. The injured or disillusioned party is supposed to confront privately for clarification of the perceived problem, leaving room for the possibility that they may be in error. They are supposed to come humbly, amenably and in a gentle and contrite spirit stating the reason for their meeting and allowing the other person to respond. This dialogue should continue for as long as it takes without either party becoming impatient with each other. This will occur if both parties genuinely have sufficient agape love and really desire to reconcile the problem. If the motive is pure and patience is exhibited, then the odds for reconciliation are much greater. If at this first step in Christ’s method of restoring relationships, either of the parties is not totally satisfied, then they should agree to allow another qualified person to join them with hope that reconciliation can be reached. It is important that each party involved does not have as their motivation the goal of winning the battle or dispute, but rather, that truth would prevail and relationships would be built.
Dr. William Graybill taught in his college course, Resolving Conflict And Anger God’s Way, that “The primary role for involving outside individuals is to help you and the person with whom you are in conflict make the decisions necessary to rebuild a healthy relationship” (syllabus pg 41). The implications of Dr. Graybill’s teaching is that we are not to go out with the intent to stack the deck on either side but make sure the witness is qualified spiritually and is not immature or unlearned. If an unqualified or overtly biased witness is sought, a wrong attitude will be present in both people coming to confront the supposed offender and true reconciliation is impossible.
Rev. Jack Frost states in his syllabus, “We are not held accountable for the wounding that others have done to us. We are held responsible and accountable for the way we have responded to the wounding” (pg 12).
What must be made totally clear for all to know and understand is THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION FOR VIOLATING THE FIRST STEP WHEN ONE HAS A DIFFERENCE WITH THEIR BROTHER. YOU MUST GO ALONE, PERIOD! To talk, pray, or take counsel with another person over a grievance you have with a brother is a violation of scripture and shows a lack of agape, unconditional love (maturity). Ironically, many times people want to judge and criticize other people for their perceived lack of sanctification in the areas of the fruit of the Holy Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…” yet they themselves commit a real injustice by their self-righteousness and critical attitude which manifests a lack of grace.
When a person violates scriptural protocol and talks with another person over a perceived lack of sanctification in someone else, that person is instantly guilty of participating with Satan who is the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10). Those two (or possibly more) self-righteous or immature concerned Christians who are deficit in agape love and grace become active participants in the works of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21 reads, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” These workings of the flesh can cause deep wounds as expressed in Proverbs 18:8: “The words of a tale-bearer are as wounds going down into the innermost parts of the belly.”
Dear saint, this is one of the best methods devised by Lucifer to destroy friendships and initiate strife and discord. This is sin and is always an act of betrayal whether understood or not by the guilty party.
Dr. William Graybill in his class Resolving Conflict and Anger God’s Way, stated that there are three things that are classified as justifiable reasons for anger: Injustice, Idolatry and Betrayal.
There is nothing more deadly that will separate relationships within a marriage, a ministerial staff, or a team, as betrayal. Divulging confidences, privileged, confidential information, sins (real or perceived) with other people is poisonous to relationships. If I see a staff member with an apparent lack of one of the Fruit of the Holy Spirit and I feel I am supposed to confront my brother, then it is done one-on-one, privately (Matt 18:15). I need to approach my brother very carefully, gently and in genuine love and support with the intent to clarify and help him if what I think I perceive is true(Gal 6:1-5). I need to give that person full opportunity to communicate with me his feelings or views. Additionally, Dr. Graybill taught that if someone comes to him to correct him in a proper manner and within proper protocol, he will receive him, but if they come to him and blast him, he will more than likely blast them back. If the person wants to achieve reconciliation then they must come in a true spirit of reconciliation or the motive and reason for violating the protocol of the confrontation is immediately in question (1 Cor 13:4-7).
Proverbs 6:12-15 warns the Church about a person who breaks scriptural protocol and talks with other people about another person's lack of sanctification; “A naughty person, a wicked man, walketh with a forward mouth. He walketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet, he teacheth with his fingers. Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord. Therefore shall his calamity come suddenly; suddenly shall he be broken without remedy.”
Remember; when you do these things, you yourself become the guilty party in God’s eyes, for God already knows the person’s weaknesses and/or sins. God wants the guilty party to be confronted in a spirit of reconciliation for healing, maturing and restoration. God does not want a person in need of loving confrontation, confronted by people who violate the protocol of scripture and instead attack the person with a wrong spirit and attitude. There is no excuse for violating the scriptural principal outlined in Matthew 18:15-17, concerning going to the person alone if you are concerned over their life. If a person violates this vitally important first step of going privately, which is true agape love, to protect another person’s reputation and the relationship and truly help the person grow in agape love, then that person himself becomes the guilty party for operating without agape love. The whole spirit of confrontation is for reconciliation between God and man, not separation brought about by arrogance and selfishness. This person, himself, is guilty of a lack of unconditional love or sanctification and now, out of his fears, insecurities, hurts, wounds, pains, grievances, bitterness or unforgiveness, usually attacks and condemns a person. Usually the person’s attitude is not for true reconciliation, but for a personal vendetta which they now consciously or unconsciously execute. This person does not come with a contrite heart and spirit, which opens the way for true dialogue, but comes with a hostile attitude where the other party cannot express himself, for he has already been judged and condemned by the accuser.
Now let us examine seven things some people do that God hates. Proverbs 6:16-19 states, “These are six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief. A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”
These seven violations are real sins. These seven violations of scripture found in Proverbs 6: 16-19 are called “abominations” by God. These violations cause discord amongst the brethren. These are real sins. People do them because they are hurt and they now want to shift their own guilt for harboring bitterness and unforgiveness onto another person. The core issue with these seven sins is that people do them because of their pride. This was the problem in heaven with Lucifer. Lucifer’s pride caused a rebellion in heaven. I am sure that Lucifer did not agree with the leadership style of God. He probably thought God’s attitude was not exhibiting enough agape love. Instead of talking out his problem with God Himself in a true spirit of reconciliation (which means to understand each others’ viewpoints and coming to a righteous conclusion,) Lucifer started to air his differences with the staff (angels) around him. This certainly revealed that Satan himself lacked agape love and instead of wanting true reconciliation, Satan wanted his own way. This is blatant sin as Satan purposefully conspired and led an angelic rebellion against the leadership of God in heaven. If Satan had enough unconditional love (maturity-sanctification) he would have never become upset with how God governed heaven. And if there were any issues that bothered Satan, then he would have gone to God alone, privately, to humbly discuss his concerns, patiently giving God every opportunity to explain why he governed the way He did.
Dr. Michael D. Sedler, who authored the book, Stop the Runaway Conversation—Take Control over Gossip And Criticism wrote, “We are so ingrained and brainwashed into believing that it is permissible to violate one another verbally that it takes a concentrated effort to begin to have new thought patterns. Our words may create injury and pain in a life, yet we seem oblivious to the results” (pg 13).
We will continue Church Restoration in Part 4.
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Church Restoration is an extremely important responsibility in the Body of Christ. I believe the reason why the church is so very weak in this area is because most congregations are not being taught how to confront sin or restore relationships through the Scriptures and neither do they watch personal role modeling by their pastors or other leaders in their lives. Proper confrontation is a mandate by God whereas improper discussion of the problem and subject is a sin often committed both by church leadership as well as their congregations. This is a primary tool of the enemy to cause a church split or create an ineffective body of believers. Proverbs 17:9 warns, “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends” (KJV). “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends” (NIV). Most people do not seem to care about the feelings of other people or the reputations of other leaders. They spread “hearsay information” without having the love or courage to go to the person in question first, and they give all the excuses which these articles explain to justify their disobedience to the Scriptures. Once again, church leadership is as guilty, if not more guilty than most of their parishioners and they wonder why there are problems in the church. They fail to understand the laws of “sowing and reaping.”
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Dr. Jonathan Hansen
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