although i wrote to you, it was not for the sake of the one who did the wrong nor for the sake of the one that suffered the wrong, but in order that your earnestness for us might be revealed to you in the sight of God. [2 corinthians 7:12]
God doesn’t ask anything of us that isn’t a part of His own character. he is fully man, fully spirit and fully God the Father. our triune God, Elohim in hebrew, marked in the first fours words of the redemption story, a united God. Jesus is not at odds with God the Father just as the Spirit is not at odds with Jesus. they are one.
we cannot experience unity apart from God. paul is clear that when we seek the Lord, when we abide in His Word, when we know the depths of God’s character, God leads us to unity.
it has less to do with who and what we deem as wrong and what God has so clearly stated as wrong.
paul didn’t say the wrong and right; he gives distinction to the wrong and wronged without polarizing them on either side of a spectrum.
we as believers are equally as guilty of siding with the wrong as we are the wronged.
warning signs we are for the sake of the wrong
- we passively fail to acknowledge the harmful actions or words of the wrong.
- we openly go along with or validate the actions of the wrong.
- we don’t bring in another mature brother or sister in Christ to confront the wrong after coming to him or her ourselves without resolve.an often contextually misquoted scripture is “where two or more are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” the passage follows the text in matthew of the biblical process of church discipline, and God’s heart for restoration.
warning signs we are for the sake of the wronged
- we ostracize the wrong. we don’t invite the wrong because the wronged will be there.
- we don’t allow the chance to hear the side of the wrong.
- we don’t acknowledge that we are capable in our sinful nature to do the same as the wrong.
instead we are called in humility to:
“go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. if he listens to you, you have gained your brother. but if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a gentile and a tax collector. truly, i say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. again i say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. for where two or three are gathered in my name, there am i among them.” [matthew 18:15-20]
in boldness, my heart has been for restoration and growth. though, a restoring work doesn’t always mean a coming back together. for me, it meant that the friendship with an unrepentant person didn’t get restored. it meant that i didn’t stay in a physically, spiritually and emotionally abusive relationship. God leads us to take the steps for unity, while we can’t control the outcome.
God leads us to do what is best not for the wrong or the wronged but what is for his glory – a global perspective of the restoration within the body of Christ.
~ natalie schmidt