Rom 16:17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.
Walking along the beach I’ve seen the speed with which surfers and swimmers get out of the water when they hear the shark alarm. Shepherds also are meant to give a shark alarm when they see predatory Christians circling their flock.
Jesus did not just bring affirming encouraging words to the people He shepherded, or His disciples.We are tempted to think that if we are simply loving and encouraging enough that this will solve all the person’s problems. We should build enough emotional and relationship equity with people so that we can bring a correcting word if we need to. However, the fear of losing a relationship and of people walking out of our lives, of losing a client, a parishioner, a follower, prohibits us from saying the hard things.
People will often speak, leaders will even teach about obedience, honour, accountability, until it becomes inconvenient for them to be accountable or to be corrected. It’s very rare to find a person who can be corrected and remain in a positive relationship. Jesus often spoke severely to his disciples, aggressively with the Pharisees, and chided His followers for their shortcomings. He also frequently warned people about those things that would lead them astray.
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See you in Church!