Christians should be more forgiving of the unbelievers then they are with each other. I don’t mean to say that Christians shouldn’t forgive each other. Just that there should be higher standards between believers. If an unbeliever slaps you in the face, you should turn the other cheek, but if your brother slaps you in the face, you should tell him how much it hurt you and ask him to stop. At least that’s how it reads here.
“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17 NLT)
But it seems to often we turn the cheek on our brother and do the body of the church harm by not correcting the sin issue that caused the problem. I feel guilty of this. Recently I made the choice to walk away from what had been my church home for more then 8 years simply because I didn’t want to make waves or hurt people’s feelings. But there was a sin issue that needed to be addressed, but instead it was denied. If I truly loved the church, I would have followed the scripture above and involved more people. Instead, I walked away quietly, with the best of intentions to not cause division in the group. Now I feel like I witnessed a mugging and didn’t report it. I had thought I was being righteous by not causing more problems, but the truth is, sometimes we are supposed to make a fuss. In the case of sin in the church we are to see it through to confession or to expose the unrepentant soul.
I can make all kinds of excuses about other reasons for breaking fellowship, but in the end, it was a bad call. God has provided for and protected my family bringing us to a new place of fellowship. We live, as always, under His grace and forgiveness.