The church—made of people gathered around Jesus—has a different code of ethics than the rest of the world. When the church drifts from grace—undeserved kindness—it becomes worldly.

In 2 Corinthians 2:1-11, the Apostle Paul tells the people at the Corinth church that he has chosen not to visit them as he promised in a previous letter. One of his reasons is that the church solved a serious challenge they faced.

Some guy in the church did something terrible. Paul’s writing doesn’t say what he did, but it sounds like it may have included a behavior that hurt Paul and/or his reputation.

How the apostle responds is textbook advice for churches. Sadly, the tone of many churches today reflects ignorance of the golden nuggets in this portion of Scripture.

Paul says, in verse 4, words I wish we could hear more in churches. In words that are both simple and profound, Paul says: “Love you!”

Where is the love in your church? Is it in the cultural tone of everything? Everyone? Pastors, have you ever stood before your congregation and said these simple and powerful words: “Love you”? Or, are you too sophisticated for that?

Whatever happened in the church at Corinth, the people stood up to punish the guy who was out of line. Apparently, the man repented, because Paul says, “Now is the time to forgive him and help this man get back on his feet… pour on the love” (verses 5-8).

The apostle challenges the people to “take responsibility for the health of the church.” Wow! I wish I saw more of that attitude! It’s called restoration.

So often, especially when a pastor is caught in sin, instead of restoration, we sacrifice the pastor (and family) on the altar of self-righteousness. It gets worse when denominational leaders are involved. I’ve worked with numerous churches in these situations. I know what happens and why.

Denominational leaders do the opposite of what Paul says. Behind their actions? Denominations often have huge endowments—often, millions and millions of dollars. If someone sues, and the pastor is found guilty, the offended party will then sue the church and follow the money trail all the way to the denomination. Attorneys are always looking for deep pockets! It’s despicable and contrary to the gospel, the way we treat those who have sinned. It’s against everything God’s people stand for. It weakens our reputation among unchurched people. You have to wonder: Where’s the forgiveness? You have to ask: Has anybody read 1 Corinthians: 2:1-11?

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