John 13:34,35 says “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In recent years we have seen a number of high-profile leaders fall from grace in one way or another. They have lost reputation, some have lost their ministries, their jobs and for some even their families. How do we show the love to them that Jesus commands? How do we show them forgiveness and restoration? The world looks on and watches a church hang people out to dry if they fall – especially if they fall sexually. What kind of witness is this? What does it say to a watching world? That all is great until you fall? That if you sin you dare not deal with it openly for fear of being judged and ousted? How is that loving each other “as Jesus loved us”?
Jesus’ command is such an easy command to obey when churches are close groups of people, who eat together, who share fellowship and worship together on Sundays and all is well with the world. But what about when one of us falls, and it is so public everyone knows about it? What if we fall out with one another, hurt one another, sin against one another – what then? Isn’t this where the rubber hits the road with regards obeying this new commandment?
2 Samuel 11 and 12 tells a story about David (read it!) his sin was extreme, it involved adultery, deception, drunkenness, intrigue and murder – on David’s part. Yet even after this was revealed, he was still part of God’s plan of salvation
The Bible tells us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us, that while we were enemies of God and dead in our trespasses and sins that Jesus gave all to bring healing and restoration into our lives.
You see sin is NOT the end, when we sin we can find a way home to God, we can find forgiveness and peace and fellowship with God and with one another.
If as churches, we are to reflect to the world what a loving, gracious, forgiving father is like, then one of the first things we MUST do is to get to grips with showing love and forgiveness to each other and most especially to those of our brethren who fall and sin. Then a watching world can know that even if they slip up in their walk with God that they haven’t blown it, that there is a route back that they can find forgiveness and peace and restoration.
Then we really WILL show the world that we are disciples of Jesus.