Yesterday, we looked at the folly of Eli. We even touched upon the fact that David also was foolish with his lack of discipline with his son. For both, it cost them dearly. We also took a hard look at ourselves and found that things haven’t changed. We see clearly in the Old Testament that we are supposed to deal swiftly and decidedly for the benefit of all. But what about the New Testament? Do we see any instruction there?
Certainly, we do but perhaps not in a way one may normally think. Let’s take a look at specific instruction from Jesus himself.
Matthew 18:15-20 “If your brother sins against you, go, and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Is it possible that Jesus would include family dysfunction in this? I don’t know why he wouldn’t. Let’s take the alcoholic husband/father. Certainly, his behavior is sinful. Certainly, he refuses to put that sin away and be done with it. Certainly, there is significant, long-term harm that he inflicts on his wife and children, not to mention how many others outside of the immediate home.
How long do we put up with this behavior? Seriously. How long? What does Jesus say? Does he say we should act after so many years? It seems to me that his instructions are meant for immediate action. Using the example of the drunkard husband, when was his behavior first a sin? What does the bible say about drunkenness? “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18). It would seem to me that our society tolerates sin far more and longer than the clear instruction of the bible.
Part of the problem is that the wife may like to tip a few back, too. Likely, too, do other family and friends. It’s hard to get one to limit drinking when it is prevalent. Let’s face it, most drinking in our society would be better defined as an orgy. Orgy? Here’s Google’s definition: a wild party, especially one involving excessive drinking and unrestrained sexual activity. While I think group sex is rare, I know of lots of people who have slept with people they shouldn’t have simply because alcohol was involved. I think you have, too. If we are honest with ourselves, orgies are more common than we care to admit and quite often we are happy participants even if we aren’t as carried away as others.
When, then, do we put a stop to it? When the Spirit convicts us, that’s when. That means the wife must clean up her act, and then when her log is gone from her eye, she can address it with her drunken husband. Ideally, she would act the very first time her husband drank too much. How wonderful would it be if spouses put their foot down right away about drinking? I’ll bet a TON of people would quit drinking if it was nipped in the bud early on. Imagine all the damage that could be prevented if that were to happen. It’s common sense, folks. Sure, some won’t quit, but many would.
The same applies for other problems. We all intuitively know it does. Yet, there are a million excuses for not doing anything, most of which are based upon fear. What if he doesn’t stop when I ask him? What if he gets mad and leaves if I push it? What will I do then? These are valid questions and ones that we need to answer, if, indeed, we are interested in obeying Jesus.
Tomorrow, let’s dig further into Matthew 18:15-20. How might this play out?
Father, we seek to obey. Please open our minds to your intentions. Fill our spirit with knowledge and understanding of your will and desire for us. Amen.
Copyright © 2018 Scott Powers