Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

How to Punish Troublemakers at Church

on March 26, 2014


photo credit: kalavinka via photopin cc

“That’s it! She’s done it again! She’s stepped on my toes for the last time! You wouldn’t believe what she did to me this time. I caught her gossiping behind my back and calling me an immature Christian. She told people things I only told her in confidence. She did the same thing to Darlene and Amelia. She also told Rick that Steve said he was ignorant because He believed in baby baptisms. I’ve had enough with this “so called Christian”. Come on girls! Let’s give her a good shunning!”

We’ve all had them. We’ve all experienced them. We recognize them shortly after they arrive, and we have nightmares about them well after they’re gone. They are the church troublemakers. You know who I’m talking about. They are the ones who only open their mouths to complain and rarely have a pleasant word to say about anyone. They love to stir up trouble and division. They use prayer time as an opportunity to gossip. They seem to have no filter on what they say and do. Yep, we’ve all known them.

It can be hard to deal with these kinds of people. Not only are they frustrating and hard to befriend, but they are also often in sin in the ways they deal with their church family. They can be difficult to confront about these issues because they usually react badly and make it worse. Oftentimes they leave and spend years hopping from one church to the next. You can’t say they aren’t saved or judge their hearts, but you wonder where they’re discernment is, where their grace is and how they don’t seem to be maturing spiritually. Paul would call these people weaker brothers and sisters in the Lord. They make you want to scream!

So how do we punish these troublemakers? How do we deal with their frustrating tactics and rude comments? What should we do to handle these people who are clearly stealing joy from the church family as a whole? Ready for it?

What we do is take ahold of them, look into their eyes and say…….well actually. Before I continue, let’s look at an example in scripture when Paul dealt with an issue like this. It seems the church at Corinth had a troublemaker of their own (I’m sure they had many). We never hear his name spoken…..yay Paul for not gossiping, amen? Yet Paul sends the church very clear and very awesome instructions on how to deal with troublemakers.

“Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him.” 2 Corinthians 2:5-8

How do we punish troublemakers in the church? Love. We love them. We take ahold of them, look straight into their eyes and tell them how very much we love them. And every time they frustrate us, we love them. And every time they sin against us, we forgive them and love them. And when we confront issues, we do it in love. And when they need us, we don’t turn away from them but continue to love.

We punish every offense with the most violent and purposeful love we can muster – and with the power of the Holy Spirit filling us up, that’s a lot of LOVE!

Oh Lord Jesus! Help me to love those who frustrate me and sin against me! I pray Lord to be a more loving person, not just to those that are easy to love, but to the most difficult. Fill me up to overflowing with Your perfect love for Your people! In Jesus’ Mighty Name I pray, AMEN!

Alright folks… go punish people with LOVE.

10 responses to “How to Punish Troublemakers at Church

  1. Kenny says:

    I understand you can now bring your gun to church in some places. Now there’s another alternative!

  2. not sure about this one are we being judge and jury yes we at times are pushed to the limmit but is that not just trials put on our armour and pray that god guides us we are all his children let him be they judge pray for the truble makers sorry about the spelling lots of love see you soon god bless hugs and kisses to tabitha

    • Thanks Dad-in-law and amen, we are all God’s children. This really isn’t about being a judge and jury. It’s about loving people who are difficult to love….those who are frustrating, possibly sinning against us or others in the church. We want to follow the whole Word of God. That means we love first, middle and last – always. We still follow God’s Word in regards to confronting sin and such (read Matthew 18) and we know that we help each other sometimes by rebuke, but God desires that it always be in love. Paul in 2 Corinthians 2 says he loved them so much that he wept and grieved because he loved them and knew he had to write them to warn of sin and trouble. So, we follow the whole Word of God, amen? Lean not on our own understanding but on the Bible and the Spirit. We can’t wait to see you both! Tabitha is thrilled! She keeps asking if Papa and Nana will be sleeping in her room. hehe Lots of love!

  3. Wow. Totally different take on this passage than I ever learned! Imagine–they taught me this was about incest and delivering someone up to Satan! Then if he repented, which we assume he did, since Paul indicated he was back in the fellowships, then that punishment was enough, and they should act forgiving and accepting, since he was no longer sinning, but repentant.

    • Thanks for sharing sister. Yes, you are absolutely right. Many teachers believe this passage is referring to the sinner from 1 Corinthians 5 who committed incest with his father’s wife. I’m not saying that’s a wrong take on it at all…it could be that this is who Paul is thinking of, but the truth is we don’t know. That’s a connection we make, but it’s not clear. There could have been someone else. The Bible doesn’t confirm that this is the same person they dealt with in another letter, but it could be. Either way, there is one interpretation of scripture but many applications. We can use this passage to apply the concept in many different ways in our lives as we deal with others. As we know, we still have to deal with sin and confrontation. We still need to follow Matthew 18 when it’s needed. We still need to purge out the leaven in our midst. If someone is in unrepentant sin, we must deal with it according to the Word, but it should always be done in love.I don’t think love is reserved for the repentant. We may need to break fellowship with them if they do not repent, but that doesn’t mean the love ends. For Christ loved us while we were yet sinners. 🙂 We love God because He first loved us. So if God loves the sinners, even before repentance, so should we. I love that he uses the word “reaffirm” your love. Even at the end of Matthew 18, when someone has been cast out of fellowship for unrepentant sin, we send them off knowing that we love them, and it is out of love that we do this that they may come to restoration with God. 🙂 Thanks so much sister. I’m thinking it would have been good to touch upon that popular teaching in the article, so I appreciate you bringing it up. God bless!!!

  4. Andrea411 says:

    This was a good reminder of how the effect of grace works in our own lives. Forgiveness producing reverence and humility. If it does not then there is a time to address sin and the way our own sin can effect the whole body or endanger immature believers. Good word, thank you

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