Hmmm… this is not an easy article to write because it involves accountability and grace. Yesterday, Dawn and I attended a church service where lots of unusual things happened. First, in my spirit I knew something was not exactly right… you know what I mean? Things just seemed out of sorts. Joe was preaching and he was working with a new translator who did a good job. I could tell that Joe wanted to get across a message to the congregation that they needed to hear. He spoke to them about a few verses in Luke, chapter… about how satan tempted Jesus Himself. Satan offered Jesus power and “things” if He would only worship satan… imagine that… satan having the nerve to tempt the Son of God that way. Fortunately, Jesus was strong enough, even in His humanness, to say no.
How much more do you think the devil will tempt us… the weak ones, to sin and follow after power and / or things? God has told us in scripture that He will offer us a way of escape when the tempter comes. We too just need to be strong enough to say no. God help us to do so. Now, on to the main subject matter of this posting.
Accountability and grace… how do we balance such things? Let me set things up… toward the end of the service, a fellow came in and was very disruptive. Let’s just say that he wasn’t himself and leave it at that. He was loud and really ruined the atmosphere of the service. He was obviously disturbed about something and rather made a spectacle of himself. First of all, Joe handled the situation well… I must confess that I probably would not have done as well. After the service, this fellow went on and on about what was bothering him but he missed the whole point that he had disrupted the service… a service where people needed to hear and focus on the Word of God.
Ok, now to cut to the chase… in a Bible study only 2 or 3 weeks previous to this incident, I witnessed this same fellow share for the first time as a leader of the study and he did fairly well from what feedback I got. So, how do we administer grace to individuals while we also hold them accountable for their actions? Hmmm… not an easy question to answer… right? It is true that we are not the judges of men… that is God’s job. However, as spiritual leaders, shouldn’t we guard the House of God from people who are not ready to lead… people who may have good intentions but they are just not prepared to handle that type of responsibility? Again, this is not easy to figure out. Personally, I believe that all we can do is take situations like this and pray about them, seek out answers from the Word, and then follow what we believe to be the prompting of the Holy Spirit. In this specific case, it will require lots of patience and discipling to help this fellow get back to a position which resembles leadership. That is where the grace part comes in. Restore such an one in love. God help us to do this… amen.