A qualification of an elder is that he rules his house well.
When kids have disputes it is the parents role to teach them good character and conflict resolution.
When asked for help it is best to at first be a witness. That is to discover the point of view from both sides. I have seen parents make this mistake: two siblings would accuse another one and this particular father would then punish his son not EVER having heard his side. I tried to speak up at the moment – and he scolded me telling me it is between him and his son – He had wrongly punished him because the siblings did not give their witness but their judgment. I saw as the older son’s countenance fell into depression because he knows that he lives in an unfair home, as his father refused to allow him to explain himself.
The father had falsely accused me saying it was none of my business, I did not say anything in front of his son. He is an elder and needs to rule his house well, I was attempting to love him and he was attempting to shut me up. Not only this, but my kids would visit his children and if he is not fair with his children then it is safe to assume he will not be fair with mine.
Later this man did the same thing to me. He condemned me without hearing from me. (Therefore if he does it to his kids he will do it to you! Another reason to have tried to help him with maturity) I pointed out that he had not asked my view and he replied that he did not need too, quoting scripture that he had two witnesses. I suggested he consider John 7:51 and Proverbs 18:3, he then got angry, so I suggested Proverbs 12:1. Clearly he is an unteachable, arrogant – close minded man. We are not supposed to be like this in the body of Christ. We are to have contrite hearts, hearts that are use to daily being circumcised.
Witnesses can be wrong. They may have not seen all angles. Once a high school teacher tried to help a prostitute – she had been a prior student of his. A current student saw him motion the prostitute over to his car. This current student did not witness to what she saw but witnessed to what she JUDGED! “I saw Mr. X with a prostitute! He is such a hypocrite” No! 99% of the time her assumption probably would be correct. But just like the student we fail to give ourselves the gift of being 1% wrong – open minded (we are not omniscient). Before telling others we would do well to go and ask the person – to investigate before we judge. The truth was the teacher was trying to help the prostitute get out of her life style trap. And this observing student made things worse and more difficult with her rash judgment. Judging superficially is our mistake! (The teacher could have sued in order to clear his name [suing is not always for monetary reason one can simply ask for a judgment and no monetary compensation]).
Kids have the wonderful thing of having parents to mediate between them. As I watch sitcoms I see conflict resolution in almost every episode. These situations we watch in sitcoms are handled properly, but in real life they are not done. I tell my wife “if they didn’t write this into the story there would be no characters left for a NEXT episode”.
So I cried out to God “Why is it kids have a solution and adults do not?” And he answered.
Please bear with me as it is difficult to explain.
Good parenting teaches kids that it is in their best interest to have good character, by making repentance the path of least resistance. To accomplish this goal I do not punish my kids, because punishment is an eye for an eye. If I were to hit my kid for having hit someone else I would be confusing him by telling him that it is wrong to hit WHILE hitting him! (You could read my note on punishment vs mercy http://on.fb.me/1HrxY2Q ). Instead I encourage them to come clean and so there is only consequence to deal with. When I was a kid I got spanked and or both spanked and grounded, whether I came clean or not – what incentive did I have to come clean? Rather it taught me to conceal things and not get caught.
I NEVER spank.
So what do I do? Well like the idiom: “You can lead a horse to water but you CANNOT MAKE HIM DRINK!!! But my grandfather would say “no but you can give him a powerful thirst!” I give them a thirst to do the right thing.
If my kid comes clean I have him make a commitment to try and not do it again. I ask him to apologize so that he is practicing the new commitment. If he stole I have him pay it back so that he is practicing good character which catapults him faster to the new habits and character. He may see it as punishment but it isn’t – it is what he would want if someone stole from him! He is practicing the good character of doing to others what you want others to do to you.
If he does not come clean and it is PROVEN to be true I put him in quarantine. It looks like being grounded but the length is up to him. I even tell them “you have the key – there is no need for you to be even one second here”. I feed him, love him, care for him, help him with his homework, etc. but he is in isolation UNTIL he comes clean and makes amends. (usually in his room or if out in public I have them stand in a corner, or tell them that when we get home they are to sit on their bed until they change their mind)
This way is much more work initially, but this early greater work pays off in dividends in that it eliminates almost all work later. (My 12 and 14 year old not only do we almost never need to intervene they teach and guide the younger two, having reduced out work load greatly)
Although getting spanked did keep me from doing more things, it did not change my character, it merely taught that the one with the most strength gets his own way. It was to put evil on a leash rather then to put evil to death.
In like manor God has given his disciples a mother. Only most of them are bad mothers and don’t know that they ARE mothers. This mother is given to train them, to put them in isolation if need be.
If a mother does not train her child we call her a bad mother. We say she is spoiling the child. It says in scripture “spare the rod (accountability) spoil the child.” We might even say such a person is raising brats! If a kid is a brat the reality is it IS not their fault but their parents!!!
So what is Gods provision for a mother?
If your brother has done an offense – go speak with him. Your goal is to help him have good character and you should go with the idea that there is at the least a 1% chance you got it wrong. If he stole, cheated, or was rude to you – you are not seeking vengeance or punishment, if you are feeling hurt then you need to get your heart right before you go. This is what it means to have your eye clean. In the same way I teach my kids to first inform their sibling that what they are doing is wrong. If they will not listen to them then they are to ask Mom and Dad for help, If Mom and Dad is not available to separate from them until they are (if ever. Better to separate than to escalate). In the same way God asks us to get one or two witnesses.
This is what Christians miss – namely that when two or three are gathered they are NOW a mother! (The body of Christ, the bride of Christ). Now in this case when you ask for two witnesses to come with you to confront someone of what they are doing wrong you may still be the one having perceived it wrong – but after this meeting if it is indeed that your brother or sister is an offender then the matter becomes established.
Suppose your brother did you wrong and you started telling others. What if you got it wrong? What if you got it right but could not prove it? You are slandering and open to a law suit. But if you had one or two witnesses it is established and if he were to retaliate you would be protected. (I have seen even pastors do this – retaliate with a law suit) Since you have witnesses you can prove it and so you are protected.
But what is the authority of the church as a mother? The same as how I deal with my kids. Scripture says don’t eat with, keep company with, and even avoid them until they come clean. You have proven them to be unrepentant, a false spiritual brother.
If you came to visit and wished to see my son and I informed you that he was in time out you would respect that we are loving him with training. Though if you are close to him and I trusted you I might allow you to visit him in his time out asking you to beg him to come clean, to say to him “but I wish to visit with you. Don’t come clean for you – do it for me!”
In like manner we can visit them, pay their bills, etc. But we cannot accept their gifts. Jesus said if you are at the altar to give a gift and there remember you did your brother wrong FIRST go to your brother and be reconciled. So we as the temple of the Holy Spirit individually and his body corporately being priests administering to the altars within us and among us CANNOT in good conscience allow him to give a gift at the alter – lest we share in his sin! Just as God rejected Cain’s offering we must reject theirs. And as I have experienced adverse reactions it shows that they were using these gifts to numb their conscience* – to their conscience it was a bribe, a way to justify their delusion. (much like a pedophile who feels guilty and so deals with his guilt by showering the kid with gifts. This accomplishes two evil things: 1 They would think “look I am not so bad, they like me” (having accepted the gifts) 2. The kid may not speak up because they LIKE the gifts and do not want them to stop.
I have seen adults who were quarantined repent in a few hours. More often though it took a whole day, a few weeks, and even years – yes years later they came and made amends to me personally! I have read about communities in history that even after 30 years they came back and reconciled.
The body of Christ is confused. They have somehow associated mercy to mean NO accountability. My own biological mother told me I was wrong. But then my brother sold her tablet to buy drugs and she called the cops. I asked her “so you can give accountability without mercy, but I cannot give accountability with mercy? You see Jeanne, I would have given him a chance to retrieve the stolen items, I would have brought one other and if he refused this then at the Lords leading called the cops. I think you did this in anger out of vengeance. I think you are a hypocrite trying to put a burden on me that you yourself cannot bear!” She exclaimed it is not the same thing! (denial with no rational reasoning just plain pure rejection – THE FLESH!) I said “you are blind, naked, and miserable”.
It is not just confusion. As we all know kids can throw tantrums when they don’t get their own way. An adult tantrum is dangerous because they could kill you! They cannot bear this, and then there is fear: What if it is unloving? Don’t speak against the pastor! I would be dishonoring my mother and father! Its not my job! Judge not! It’s between him and God! Etc. are the lies the enemy uses to paralyze us. It’s as if a child was too afraid to ever try and walk. Trying and failing ARE part of the process and unless you try not only will you NEVER walk you will NEVER UNDERSTAND walking!!!
He is calling forth his messengers to begin the harvest, he first wants to throw the chaff in the fire and then to gather his wheat!
“Come out of her my people lest you share in her sins” is to be read this way “She is an unfit mother, abandon this home lest you perpetuate the cycle”. For judgment begins in the houses of God!”
* we are to heap burning coals upon their head. Accepting their gifts is pouring cool water upon their heads. To the mature he knows that not accepting the gift IS the act of kindness. If you disagree then do you realize that you are saying God is unkind when he rejected Cain’s gift? If you say it makes them worse then you are saying it was Gods fault that Cain killed Able because had he accepted his gift Able would not have been killed? Be careful in your own wisdom – are you blaspheming God?