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            I have observed that many Christians have an attitude that penalizes the sinner.  We kill our wounded! We have a tendency to kick a man when he is down.  We want our "pound of flesh."  We want to make sure he pays for his crime.  We don't want it too easy for the sinner to come back.

            We need to spend some time looking at the following questions.  We need to understand and discuss:  1] How are we guilty of killing the wounded?  2] Who are the wounded that we kill?  3] Why do we treat them this way?


I. How are we guilty of killing the wounded?

            A. We gossip about them.

                        1. "One reason brethren hesitate to confess their faults one to another is that we do not know whom we can trust to keep our secrets."  20 Years of the Problem Page, Lanier, p. 89.

                        2. Illustration of young man; lust; porno magazines

                                    a. Have not forgiven him.

                                    b. Still telling others about him.

                        3. Some try to find out - "What did he do?"

                                    a. Solution-"That might lead me into gossip."

                                    b. If you do not know - Encourage him.

                                    c. If you do know - Forgive him.  

            B. Refusing to forgive them.

1.      Forgive means "Not hold it over their head."

2.      Do not hold the sin against the person.

3.      Matt. 6:12; 14-15

4.      Matt. 18:21-22

5.      Luke 17:3-4

6.      We must learn to let go; bury the hatchet; drop the matter; cease all resentment; forgive.

7.      THIS IS NOT AN OPTION.  If we do not forgive our brother, we will not be forgiven by God.

            C. We seek to humiliate the sinner.  We want them to pay the penalty, to be publicly embarrassed.

1.      "Merchant of Venice"  - "Pound of flesh."

2.      We don't want it to be too easy for them.

3.      Don't let them off the hook to soon.

4.      "Make them stew for a while."

5.      "Make them walk the aisle."

6.      "They didn't identify the sin."

a.      Neither did the prodigal son - Luke 15

b.      Neither did Simon - Acts 8

7.      "Make them pay for what they did."

8.      "It's not fair. Forgiveness is too easy."

9.      "They think they can waltz in here and say, "I'm sorry," and I am supposed to forgive them."

            D. Lack of genuine (agape) love toward one another.

1.      Many who want specific confession of sins from others are unwilling to make any confession of wrong themselves.

2.      Love demands that we forgive without conditions or strings attached.

3.      If you loved me ...       

            E. By making rules under which we will accept their confession of wrong.

1.      Must be at a church service (preferably Sunday morning).

2.      Must be specific about the sin.

3.      Must walk down the isle.

4.      Offer partial fellowship, probation.

a.      II Cor. 2:4-10


II. Who are the "wounded" that we "kill?"

            A. The lost

1.      We make them feel sub-human, inferior.

2.      We assume that they are dishonest.

3.      "If you are not a member of the Church of Christ, you are headed for hell."

            B. Christians who sin

1.      Gal. 6:1 "spirit of meekness" is missing.

2.      Gal. 6:1 "considering thyself" is missing.

3.      We point fingers, blame, gossip about.

4.      We don't:

a.      Go to them and discuss the sin.

b.      Continue to fellowship them.

            C. Erring, unfaithful brethren

1.      "I don't know why they quit coming."

2.      When they return - "It won't last.  I'll give them three weeks."

3.      We discuss them, BUT have no idea why they quit.

            D. Divorced Christians

1.      Candidate for elder: "He has a living wife."

2.      "He can't teach a class.  He has been divorced."

3.      We can't accept them until we have investigated the matter. WE ARE NOT PRIVATE DETECTIVES.

4.      We do not do this with other situations.

            E. Those who are different.

1.      Homosexuals.

2.      Inter-racial families.

3.      Blacks, Hispanics, etc.

4.      AIDS patients.

5.      Men with an earring.

6.      Prostitutes.

7.      Uneducated OR highly educated.

8.      Use "wrong" terminology.

            F. Those who hold to a different set of traditions.

1.      Not doctrinal matters - "God has spoken."

2.      Matters of choice, expediency. (I Corinthians 6:12)

3.      Speakers, preachers, writers - disagree = shoot them (usually, in the back)

4.      Unusual ideas, new concepts = hard to swallow.


III. Why do we treat them this way?

            A. Lack of trust in one another.

                        1. Not sure their confession is genuine.

                        2. Too much gossip, instead of care and concern.

                        3. We look like "a school of voracious piranha instead of a tender flock of sheep." Swindoll, p. 16

            B. Lack of love.

                        1. Probation, partial fellowship.

                        2. More real fellowship at "Joe's Tavern."

                        3. We should seek what is best for others, ahead of our own interests.

                        4. "Dog eat dog" is changed to "sheep eat sheep."

            C. Failure to forgive.

                        1. Study these scriptures.

                        2. Matt. 6:12; 14-15

                        3. Matt. 18:21-22

                        4. Luke 17:3-4

                        5. We must learn to let go; bury the hatchet; drop the matter; cease all resentment; forgive.

            D. Prejudice.

                        1. "Respect of persons" is sin.  James 2:8-10

                        2. We make judgments about a person's worth and value.  We "pre-judge" their worth.

                        3. Matt. 21:28-32 Harlots will be in heaven ahead of you.

            E. Desire for vengeance.

                        1. Rom. 12:17-21

                        2. Heb. 10:25-31

                        3. Matt. 5:38-42 "turn other cheek"

            F. "Holier-than-thou" attitude.

                        1. "I would never do a thing like this."

                        2. Luke 18:9-14 "trusted in themselves"

                        3. Gal. 6:1

                                    a. "in the spirit of meekness"

                                    b. "considering thyself"

                                    c. "let thou also be tempted"

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