A friend of mine had a moral failure. Following his drastic mistake he wrote these words:
Today is trash day. I love it. With a plastic trash bag in hand, I scoot through the house emptying the trash cans from each room. Then, I roll my green and blue bins out to the curb. Then the magic happens. By the time I wake up tomorrow, a truck will have come by, taken my garbage and hauled it away. I HAVE to do this each week because I don’t have room for more than a weeks worth of trash at a time.
And, a personal confession: I like the blue trash bin better. It’s the one for stuff that can be recycled. It’s not that I’m a huge environmentalist (though I do care), it just ‘feels’ better to know that my trash will be put through a process and made useful, good, clean. Cool stuff, this recycling thing.
Now, if people can do this weekly with garbage (garbage in….good stuff out), don’t you suppose Almighty God can take our garbage and re-cycle, then make us useful again?
So, if you wanna throw me away….hey, at least throw me in the blue can.
Because small group members love one another deeply and in most instances are close friends with the spouse of a person who has fallen, it hurts so much more when one of those group members has a moral lapse of any kind. Our disappointment is evident, our anger is extreme, and our verbal and visual responses leave nothing to the imagination. These sincere emotions and vivid reactions can keep groups from doing what it takes to help the wrongdoer put the pieces of her/his heart back together. We tend to allow the errant group member to throw themselves into the green can and never be heard from again. A few things we must remember:
- God is in the redemption business, groups work in tandem with Him to restore broken hearts and people.
- God is the only judge.
- Satan longs to hold people captive, Jesus longs to set people free. We do not want to stand guard on those being held in the cell of sin. When we do we aid the enemy.
- We may be the one needing a healing community someday.
- God will someday use the person your group welcomed back into God’s community of believers to warn and bring healing to others who struggle with the sin that wreaked havoc on his/her life.
- Leading a group to restore a fellow believer is long, hard, tedious and fulfilling work.