Helping Others With Sin

12/30/2006

speech bubble representing person 1 talkingI have a question. If your relationships bring you exploitation by someone, and you’re used by them, what do I need to do with that kind of relationship? Do I need to continue with them or stop?

speech bubble representing person 2 talkingI think I would say to them, “Are you exploiting me? I want to love you, but I don’t want you to exploit me. Can we talk about this?” See how simple that is? That person could be treating you that way because they are insecure, afraid and needy. Those might be the reasons they are exploiting you.

speech bubble representing person 1 talkingWhat if he or she wants to control the group?

speech bubble representing person 3 talkingI would ask them not to do that. If they would like to continue to take control and exploit people, ask them to go do that somewhere else.

speech bubble representing person 1 talkingYes, if he or she wants to control, that’s no good.

speech bubble representing person 3 talkingI would beg them to stop doing that. Some people control others because they are afraid. Some people do it because they are arrogant and ambitious. In any case, those are sins that can be repented of just like any other sins. Maybe they will repent if you ask them about it.

You may have picked up on this already, but we are very quick to be honest with each other. When there is a problem with any of us, whether we see a child with purple hair or a 75 year old who is being lazy, we are quick to walk alongside them and say, “Could I talk to you about this? Something about this doesn’t seem right and doesn’t line up with Jesus’ character. Would you please reconsider this?”

Problems like exploitation or control are sins just like lying or stealing or anything else. If we expect that someone can repent of stealing or lying, we can also expect that they can repent of ambition or control. We simply ask them to please reconsider their ways.

If they won’t repent of stealing, what will you need to do? You will have to bring in two or three others and then talk to the church about it if needed (Matt. 18). Jesus said to do that. It’s a command like any other. If the person still won’t turn away from their sin, then we might have to ask them to leave, and we beg God that He would bring them repentance. If they won’t stop stealing, you might have to eventually say goodbye to them. If they won’t stop exploiting and controlling people, you might have to bring two or three others, and then talk to the whole church and beg them to quit that sin.

So what is exploitation or control? It is stealing. It’s trying to steal people’s hearts, minds, time and money. It’s stealing people’s allegiance and loyalty and that’s a sin, just like stealing physically is a sin. So you beg them to stop stealing and to rest in Jesus.

People steal because they’re afraid. They haven’t learned to walk in faith and to trust God to supply like He does for the birds of the air and the crops of the field. God will supply because He’s a Living God. He will hear the prayer of a person who trusts Him, and He will bring water or milk out of a rock. A person doesn’t have to steal in order to be fed. It’s a person who can’t trust that wants to steal. In the same way, it’s a person who doesn’t love and trust enough that wants to exploit and control others. So you deal with it like you would deal with stealing—you beg them to stop doing it, and then you bring two or three if they refuse. If they don’t repent, then fairly soon you might have to say good-bye to them, in hopes that God would bring them humility. They would then come back and say, “I’m so sorry. I was arrogant and controlling, and I’m very sorry.”

Just as you wouldn’t ignore it if someone were stealing, you cannot ignore the sins of a person when they are lying or controlling or manipulating others. You can’t let that go on, just as you can’t let any other sin go on. “A little leaven leavens the whole batch” (1 Corinthians 5; Galatians 5). Everybody ends up getting hurt by it. So just like any sin, you beg them to stop sinning. If they won’t hear you, you bring two or three, and if they still won’t hear all of you begging, then you tell it to the church. If they still won’t hear the whole church, then you have to say good-bye to them. Don’t eat with them. Don’t keep their company. Expel them from your midst.

But all of that is done in hopes that they will come to humility in repentance, not so that you can get rid of them. That’s what you have to do whatever the sin is, whether it’s stealing or lying or manipulating people. You can’t have people who are man-pleasers or living in other sins which they refuse to repent of. You’ve got to find a way to help them overcome their thing. You can’t just ignore it.

 

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