Friday, September 21, 2012

Responding to "public" sin

So a quote about how people erroneously confuse goodness with niceness got me thinking.  And then I started wondering about how this fake niceness can exist alongside the ranty rage that characterizes the politics of morality these days.  How can we have both?

This sort of thing is hard to find biblical examples for, I guess.  Some things (as Paul pointed out in Corinthians) are just clearly morally wrong and need to be addressed by the church more publicly (I think it was someone having an affair with his mother-in-law or something in that particular example).  But I thought the Bible was pretty clear that sin is something that concerns the body of Christ and needs to be addressed within the body. 

I tried to think of public examples, but, you know, the internet wasn't really around in biblical times, so there's really no direct parallel.  The closest I could get were Jesus' displays of anger in the Temple and the way He wouldn't hold back when confronted out in town by certain religious elite of the time. And that wasn't really close at all because that was still within the confines of the "religious" world.

Do you have any examples, ideas, or opinions about this idea?  (How) Ought we to respond to "public" sin as individuals?  Is it worth expending energy, or should we be using that energy more within the local body?  Paul strongly indicated that our responsibility as a member of the body is to judge sin within the body, but he did seem to think there were times to publicly take a stand when sin in the church was getting out of hand.  Is generally staying out of the public discourse really the wiser path, though?  Or does it lead to even more dire consequences than people thinking the body of Christ is made up of unreasonable, hateful jerks?

I've contemplated before whether the opposite of love (strong positive emotion) is really hate (strong negative emotion) or is actually apathy (the absence of emotion).  I find myself wondering about it again.  There's a lot of emotion swirling.  Is it better for it to be misplaced emotion than none at all?  Better to try to care for the world and fail at doing it or to just give up and not care at all?

My head hurts.  What about yours?  Any insights or other questions to throw in?

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