Sinners in the Church
Every member of a congregation isn’t an angel, some drink to the extreme, steal, fornicate and the list goes on. But these members are allowed to attend the church to repent and seek forgiveness. How should the church approach the concept of a murderer, pedophile, abuser, or rapist in the church? These sins are much harsher than the gossip of Mr. and Mrs. Smith having extramarital affairs.
The bible says to forgive and not to judge, but those are hard words to live by when there is a known pedophile sharing the same bench with you and your eight year old during Sunday service. Or what of bible study nights, with a known rapist in attendance? But who is to judge that the individuals are a threat and will sin again? Should and can the church make determinations if someone has truly repent?
Should the leaders of the church be obligated to notify its members when one of these types of individuals is attending the church? Should they only notify the church if they did an act within the last 2, 3, or 5 years? Should the leaders of the church even let these individuals join the church at all? Should they reject them from the church and leave them in an environment with no spiritual support to correct their behavior? But then again, are they allowed to judge and aren't they still held under the ‘forgive’ value? Or should it be a matter of repetitive behavior that determines whether or not these individuals should be allowed in the church? A three strikes you are out rule or not? But then again, how can someone measure someone else’s change of heart but God? But then again, if someone is molesting every child they come in contact with, should it be safe to assume they will do it again?
How should sinners amongst the church leaders be addressed? Most of their sins are so well hidden that it is sometimes impossible to make the congregation believe a sinful act was committed. Some congregational members are so devout that they will defend the sinning leader or close their eyes and ears to the allegations. They would rather turn on the victim and sanctify the sinner. Should these leaders be told to leave the church or should they be forgiven? As the media reports, sinners amongst the leaders of the church usually receive minimal if no punishment at all. Why does the congregation seem to be more lenient or forgiving towards sinning leaders than to sinning congregation members? Just some food for thought.