Finally, Jesus says if you have taken your offense to you brother privately, with witnesses and even before the church and he still does not repent that we should treat him like a Pagan or a tax collector. Many feel that this is finally the place where they get to punish the one who has wronged them by kicking them out of the body. While it may be necessary to take some strong action, possibly even excluding them from meetings, the sentiment is not hatefulness. How did Jesus treat tax collectors? How did Paul treat Pagans? They were lost, people needing a savior. They were treated with Love and kindness. The passage is basically saying if they refuse to repent then treat them like unbelievers, win them over to Christ through love.
If you really want to begin to live this active, participatory, Body life, Confession is a good place to start. At its core it is humbling and others centered. It brings about unity. It gives the church something to do. Instead of just sitting in a pew hearing lofty words you forget before you even leave the building, why don’t we help one another with their struggles. Carry each others burdens (Galatians 6:2)
But before we can carry each others burdens, don’t forget you have to reveal your burdens to the ones who can help, the church. That is the first obstacle in beginning to speak the language of confession. Getting over yourself and your desire to be misunderstood. See, We want people to misunderstand us and think we are better than we are. It is precisely because of this obstacle that most people never learn the language of Confession.
Our problem with confession stems from our fear of being found out! Everyone is under the (false) impression that I am good, kind, and hard working. They think I am a good dad and a great husband, I am a faithful follower of Jesus in every way. So, if this is all true, if I am doing alright why do I need Jesus?
Remember the people Jesus enjoyed being around. Not sinners, but sinners who admitted they needed help. The pharisees were sinners, they just didn’t admit it. They portrayed an outward expression that said I have it all together. Sound familiar? But these “sinners” Jesus hung out with basically said, “I am a mess, I am beyond help, I am a prostitute, a drunk, a thief, a disease ridden, broken down pile of flesh. Jesus, you are the only one who can help me.” Everyone already knew who they were. They didn’t need to hide, they couldn’t if they wanted to. Jesus reached out to them because they were broken before him. To the Pharisees, who hid their sin with religious piety and fancy words, Jesus said…”Hypocrite! Snake! Liar! you look great on the outside but inside you are full of death.” I no longer want to be found in the camp of the Pharisees. I want to be known for what I am, so that Jesus can be seen for who He is. I encourage you to confess your true self to the world and let Jesus be glorified in you. Paul did it:
So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:21-25)
So will I:
I am selfish, I am spiritually lazy, I often put myself above my family, I am like a prostitute who follows after loves of the world and ignores the only one who truly loves me. I am angry, I hold grudges. I fight. I think myself better than others. I am a freaking mess! Jesus, Help me!