Keeper of His Home

by Chelsea McCafferty

How to Punish Troublemakers at Church

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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…..now go punish people with LOVE.

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An Incredible & Convicting Experience

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Something incredible happened to us tonight and I really felt it was worth sharing, so here it is. My family and I had been working late on a project, so we went out to eat a late dinner at a local restaurant. We shared the restaurant with only one other group. A few tables away was a man and two women, and I could tell from the moment we sat down that we perhaps should have chosen a different location further away.

The reason I say that is that the people were drinking quite heavily and speaking so vulgarly that it was hard to even enjoy our meal. The words out of their mouths were disgusting. The “F” word was used in every sentence and for every possible meaning. It wasn’t just the cursing but the topics of their discussions that were offensive. I wouldn’t even want to repeat what they talked about but I will say the majority was them making sexual plans as a group and so forth. They were loud about all of it, even knowing that my four year-old daughter was sitting there with us.

I tried to distract my daughter and we focused on speaking about the Lord, praying and enjoying each other. I tried not to look at their table, not wanting to catch their eye. I just prayed they would leave, and I admit that my heart was filled with judgment and disgust. I had not one ounce of compassion or grace for these people who were polluting our meal with filth. I didn’t see them as anything but a nuisance and a problem. I say this with shame and regret.

About ten minutes before we were done, they got up and left. Before leaving the man stopped and smiled at us and gave Tabitha a friendly smile. We smiled back but gave him little attention. He and his group then left and there was finally peace. We finished up and I went up to the register to ask for the check and pay. The waitress apologized for the way the people had behaved and spoken in front of our daughter. She then told me that our dinner was covered and already paid.

I was surprised. Assuming the restaurant owner had decided to bless us with a free meal because of the disturbing circumstances, I assured her that it was fine and that I was perfectly happy paying. That’s when she stopped me and told me what happened. I couldn’t believe my ears.

The man, whom I had been hating in my heart, had paid our bill and the woman with him covered the tip. I was in shock! How could this be? Why would he do that? I wasn’t kind to them or even friendly. I’m sure that the expression on my face showed clearly my feelings about their behavior and language. Why would this man decide to bless us this way?

I was moved to tears. I couldn’t even speak. My emotions were so mixed but the predominant feeling was one of conviction. I realized without a doubt that the Lord had used this man and his party, even in their sin, to convict me of my own. I felt instantly blessed and convicted all at the same time. God had spoken to me clearly and visibly because He knew my heart and loves me. My Father had corrected me with an act of kindness.

As I reflected on what had happened, I saw myself in retrospect and how cold my heart was towards these people. I looked down on them with disgust. I didn’t see them for who they really were…lost people who desperately need Jesus. They need Jesus! They are dead inside without Him! What do we expect from the world? They live their lives this way because they are empty inside and need Jesus, and I have Jesus. I have what they need, but instead of being kind, merciful, graceful and lovingly showing them Jesus, I hardened my heart. That’s why God had to break it, and He did. Tonight He broke my heart.

Being broken can hurt, but it can also be incredibly uplifting. As I sit here, still in tears over the events of this evening, I thank God that He loves me enough to have reached out to me tonight. He reminded me of who I am in Him, how He wants me to see the lost and that I never want to pass up an opportunity to shine the light and love of the Savior into the lives of hurting people who need Him. I’m so grateful and so blessed.

I don’t mind confessing these shortcomings because I know fine well that God is not finished with me yet. I am a sinner and I need Jesus every hour of every day to walk according to His ways. I know that these corrections make us stronger in the Lord and I am so very encouraged that God would bless me and my family in the very unexpected way He did tonight. Thank You Jesus and I pray now for the salvation of the man and women we encountered tonight. I pray that they will come to know you, repent and be transformed by the washing away of their sins and their new life in You. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

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