How easy it is for us to make excuses! Instead of following God’s instructions about loving accountability!
Here are some possible "reasons" why churches may choose to ignore Scriptures that teach church discipline. You may be able to think of more.
We don’t believe the consequences of sin are that serious.
We have convinced ourselves that since the consequences of sin are not always immediate and dramatic, that they are therefore relatively insignificant. So rather than do the difficult thing to try to turn someone away from their sin, we do the easy thing and let them continue in it.
The analogy would be for a cancer doctor to refuse to talk with someone who has cancer growing in their body because it might be an unpleasant subject, or they might react negatively, or that the cure would be painful and difficult. And, anyway, the cancer might not kill them for a long time. And can’t we just leave it up to their own mind and body to let them know when and how to deal with it?
We think that to confront others with their sins would be unloving
Our logic and emotions tell us that in order to be loving, we must accept others as they are. We must prove that no matter how much they may be involved in sin, that we must demonstrate love and tolerance by being nice, non-judgmental, and non-threatening–and by ignoring the sin.
We think that to confront others with their sins would be arrogant
The thinking goes like this: "After all, who am I to talk with them! I’m not so perfect myself!" We may support this thinking by quoting John 8:7 ("Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.")
We are afraid of being accused of being judgmental.
We may quote Matthew 7:1 ("Judge not that you be not judged.") This is similar to number 2 above, except we fear others saying it about us. Instead of thinking, "Who am I to confront another Christian?" We fear others saying, "Who are you to confront another Christian?"
We convince ourselves that it is really none of our business.
We try to "turn it over to God." The logic is, "When God gets ready to convict them, He can convict them. I’m not the Holy Spirit. I can’t play God. I wouldn’t dare say anything. That’s not my business. It’s God’s business."
We are afraid that we will "run people off"
We are afraid that they, or their friends and family members, or all of the above, will get upset and leave the church. They may accuse us of being unloving, judgmental, and meddling in the affairs of others. And (we reason) that if they leave the church, they will no longer be under the influence of the very teaching and preaching that might lead them to repentance.
We have ignored Church Discipline so long that it can’t work now
It may seem like the leap from "here" to "there" is just too wide a chasm. We reason that if the church had used discipline wisely from the beginning, it might have been effective. But, having been ignored for years, it would just be too traumatic to try to begin now.
Like I said, you may be able to think of others, but those will do for starters!
The next question might be, "Are any of these reasons acceptable in the eyes of God?"
You already know the answer. But we will look at the details in future posts!