Grim Punishment Indeed

We know that as a community of God’s people, we have to help one another as we deal with temptation and sin. Our lives, generally speaking, are not hidden from one another, and the people who know you usually know you pretty well—just as you know them.Exhort

Scripture encourages us in this task of helping one another in this way. “But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Heb. 3:13). But we have to be careful with a word like exhort. Too many of us think of it the way Ambrose Bierce once defined it – “exhort, to put the conscience of another upon the spit, and roast it to a nut brown discomfort.”

To exhort someone in this sense is not to bring the law down upon their heads. Leadership does not consist of getting people to do things. Admonition does not consist of letting them have it for not having done them. The word exhort here could also be rendered as encourage. The original is parakaleo, the verb form of one of the Holy Spirit’s names—Comforter, Encourager. We must do this daily, it says, lest we be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

When people are not encouraged in this way, they are vulnerable to every form of slander and all manner of lies. A handful of you might still get our local newspaper, and if you do, you may have noticed yet another front page attack on our church and church community on Friday.

There are two things we are required to do with things like this. The first is to rejoice. Jesus commanded to rejoice when men speak all manner of evil about you (Matt. 5:11-12). I think the accusation of supporting child abuse qualifies, and so the command also applies. Rejoice.

The second thing is taken from this text. Not everyone in the church is up to the challenge of rejoicing when lied about in such egregious ways. These are the people we must remember to encourage and strengthen. If we do not, they become vulnerable to the deceitfulness of sin, and they wind up hard and bitter. Their punishment is what they turn into, and it is a grim punishment indeed.

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insanitybytes22
Member

Let me say something as one completely out of loop who could not possibly have any personal knowledge or investment in this post. Often we must make a choice about who we are going to exhort and encourage in any given situation. Get it wrong just once, and you completely blow people’s sense of safety and trust. God doesn’t just harden hearts as punishment, he mercifully hardens the hearts of some He loves too, especially those who have been betrayed. It can be quite something to stand there silent while everyone exhorts, praises, and encourages someone who has hurt you.… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Sometimes God hardens our hearts so we will no longer be vulnerable

I think you should say God hardens our skin. Hard hearts are hearts that do not respond to truth. A heart of stone is always a bad thing.

insanitybytes22
Member

I plea using great caution there, because sometimes it is the soft hearts that cannot see the truth.

Having a heart of stone can be a good thing. It may well blind you to the truth, but sometimes being blinded to the truth is vital to God’s will. I imagine Jael’s heart was probably hardened when she drove a tent stake through Sisera’s head.

bethyada
Member

What I am saying is that this is a metaphor. We want to be responsive to God no matter what. This is termed having a kind, or soft, or malleable heart. No being overly sensitive, or ignoring insults can be important. I don’t think using the metaphor hard heart is helpful here. Especially when some people say that they are just protecting themselves yet they truly have a heart that is unresponsive or unforgiving. I know people who won’t go somewhere because of hurts and yet while they say that they are closing off there heart from more hurt, they… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

“Especially when some people say that they are just protecting themselves yet they truly have a heart that is unresponsive or unforgiving.” You are quite right of course. However, there are also many people who have an unresponsive and unforgiving heart for good reason. They wind up “hard and bitter,” as Wilson says, based on real life experiences, often having to do with the church, when the church was clearly in the wrong. Than the church likes to turn around and pour more fuel on the fire and accuse them of now being “vulnerable to the deceitfulness of sin” and… Read more »

bethyada
Member

I agree that certain environments can push persons in a certain direction. It may certainly be understandable that a person is how he is.

Even so, I think bitterness as a defense is destructive.

In no way do I advocate perpetuating atrocities. Though I suspect that evil men can distort every good thing. We must be careful not to allow the distortion of a good to reject the good.

insanitybytes22
Member

“We must be careful not to allow the distortion of a good to reject the good.”

That’s a very good point. Now we just need to go teach it to all those bitter men in the “7 reasons young men should marry thread.” :)

Leslie Lea
Guest
Leslie Lea

So many bitter men on that post. Very telling about some of today’s teachings. So sad.

timothy
Guest
timothy

Integrity is a virtue

connie
Guest
connie

I think the facts are pretty clear that this church does not take statutory rape of a minor seriously. That is not persecution, that is rightful disgust you are facing. You don’t get brownie points for suffering scorn you brought on yourselves. And furthermore any righthinking person would be appropriately appalled that you would let this rapist go into ministry. At the very least a minister of the Gospel should be blameless and be of good reputation, which this individual is NOT. Is it nothing to you that the Gospel is blasphemed because of your actions?

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

It would be more convincing if the news expressed the same kind of disgust for the same kinds of actions perpetrated by persons associated with any other group in town, but somehow it’s only newsworthy when it somehow involves ChristChurch.

The laser focus on the church gives some people ideas that maybe somebody has an axe to grind.

bethyada
Member

Connie, when we have statutory rape the idea is that the person is not legally capable of consenting. Of course one can consent in the sense of desiring, but the law is arguing that one is not really capable of such. So if two 15 year olds are sleeping together, do we arrest the girl and imprison her for 10 years when she turns 16 and has sex with her boyfriend who is a few months younger? Do you think the label “rapist” rightly applies to the girl in the above scenario? If a girl get pregnant under the age… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Bethyada, I don’t think that most of our stat rape laws work that way. There must generally be a greater age difference than a few months between the offender and the victim, with the harshest penalties reserved for anyone over 21 who has sex with an underaged person. Different states vary in their penalties, but a 23-year-old having sexual relations with a 13 or 14 year old girl could be looking at as much as 30 years or as little as 5. In California, where the age of consent is 18 and the stat rape laws are pretty strict, an… Read more »

bethyada
Member

Except Jill, what you have written is not what Connie said

John
Member

But look at the case of the New England prep school boy who was 18 and was convicted of having sex with a 15 year old girl who told her friends she was expecting oral sex with him. Not condoning his behavior in any way as he bragged about the encounter but his life has been ruined. So while California law may do one thing other states vary greatly in their sentencing.

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

He did only get one year in jail, however, which is what he would have got in California. The more serious punishment is registration as a sex offender, which–weirdly–was not for the sexual activity but for using a computer to set it up. I had trouble feeling any sympathy for him because of the three year age difference. What I found most appalling, however, was the culture of the school–but who in their senses believes in co-ed boarding schools?
I was startled that he intended to study theology.

John
Member

I think my problem with the case lies in the fact that 18 year old boys are having sex with 15 year old girls all the time. She expected at least some level of sexual activity and willingly went from a party in a dorm room and then to the basement. My guess those facts were instrumental in no conviction on the rape charge. To me it seems like a 15 year old who made a grave mistake and then regretted it the next morning. His behavior was despicable. The school either decided to look the other way on this… Read more »

Jill Smith
Member
Jill Smith

Quite likely! I think that 18 year olds have to remember that, no matter how eager the younger person may be, it is illegal to have sex with him or her. However silly or sinful the younger person may be, the adult can’t take advantage of their protected status. Unfortunately, the real adults in this situation clearly did little to protect either of the young people for whom they were responsible. It is beyond me that anyone thinks you can throw healthy teenagers together without supervision and then be surprised at sexual misconduct.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Connie, your facts and timeline are messed up. Wight’s actions were hidden from the church elders and members. As soon as Wight’s actions came to light, he was immediately removed from the Greyfriars pastoral training and placed under church discipline. He was not ordained here or allowed into ministry. He was a student.

I do not know where you received information that he was allowed into the ministry but that is completely false.

Katecho
Member

Disappointed to see that connie is still spreading her lies and misrepresentations about Christ Church. Wilson correctly refused to characterize Wight’s motivations as those of a pedophile, but Wilson has repeatedly said that Jamin Wight acted wickedly and criminally toward Natalie and deserved the legal punishments he received, at the very least. Connie seems to just ignore this fact in her quarrel against him. She suggests that Wight was able to continue with his plan to go into ministry, showing that connie has no grasp of the basic facts of the case. Blindly attacking Wilson and Christ Church is not… Read more »

Leslie Lea
Guest
Leslie Lea

“Matthew 5:10, Blessed are you who are persecuted for RIGHTEOUSNESS sake. The Living Bible says ‘. Blessed are you who are persecuted for doing right.”

There is no blessing for those who are persecuted for making stupid decisions. Forgiveness, yes, upon repentance.

Stupid decisions were made so stop with the whining.

Dave
Guest
Dave

Leslie, you are correct, in that stupid decisions do hurt. Natalie needs to understand that she made stupid decisions and has fallen away from the Lord. She walked away from the church rather than Christ Church walking away from her. Natalie’s statements do not ring true for those of us who lived in Moscow during that time. As a note, forgiveness is not dependent upon repentance. We need to pray more for Natalie and her family. We need to spend more time praying for healing in this matter and I would ask those reading to assist in those prayers.

Leslie Lea
Guest
Leslie Lea

I wasn’t talking about Natalie

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Yes Douglas, take a look at your emerging legacy and rejoice. Imagine how much rejoicing you would be doing if you to get through something that had truly victimized you? Say… sexual abuse or rape. You could be having mardi gras right now. Rejoice.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“Imagine how much rejoicing you would be doing if you to get through something that had truly victimized you”

He isn’t claiming victim status.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

He is always claiming victim status.

Christopher
Member
Christopher

Romans 8:37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors…
In this post Wilson is practicaly singing ‘Victory in Jesus.’

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Isn’t he always crowing? Or alternately crying victim? Victory (in jesus) indeed. The collateral damage is unfortunate though isn’t it? By all means, create principals from interpretation of bronze-age scripture that allows you to overlook sexual abuse and abusers at the expense of their victims. And when your spade gets called the same, cry victim yourself… or rejoice. Why not?

Or maybe, protect children from those who would rape and abuse them. Put the safety of children ahead of ideology and your own hubris. Imagine that.

Dave
Guest
Dave

RandMan, your unsupported comments really do not hit home. If you don’t like Wilson, just so “I don’t like Wilson.” Then we all get the point. Otherwise, your statements are way off base.

Happy Lord’s Day.

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

We have here Wilson’s colossal failure to protect children, babies (and and adult woman) in his extended church and school, his numerous deflective and disinformative blog posts blaming the victim while making jokes and using the scandal to shill books, the plethora of articles online- many from reputable christian sources with skin in the game criticizing his hubris and mean-spirited, bigoted version of christianity… A simple ‘I like or I don’t like Wilson’ seems rather silly doesn’t it? Thank you for the empty, self-congratulatory blessing btw. It reminded me that my favorite part of any sunday at this post-christian stage… Read more »

Christopher
Member
Christopher

“We have here Wilson’s colossal failure to protect children, babies (and and adult woman) in his extended church and school”

Is Wilson the only one responsible for not protecting these women, children, and babies?

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Wilson is a community leader, pastor and head of a school whose student who sexually abused an underage girl repeatedly. He blames the victim and the victims family. These students board (illegally) with church families. Wilson also counseled and married off a known pedophile to an impressionable young parishioner resulting in a baby who has been flagged as sexually stimulating to the father. Is he not responsible for protecting these children and families under his pastoral care. Or shall we just excuse his hubris and colossally bad judgment with an ‘oh well’ and ‘the lord works in mysterious ways’?

Christopher
Member
Christopher

Again is Wilson the only community leader, pastor, school director?
Whatever Wilsons faults in all this, I don’t agree with crucifying him ten years after the fact just because he’s an easy target.

Dave
Guest
Dave

RandMan you are way off base. This was hashed out long ago and your continued lies show the extent that this event is being pushed by individuals outside the church without any concern for the church, the families or the individuals involved. Wight was responsible for the sexual abuse. Gary Greenfield set that disastrous situation up and fails to take credit for his poor parenting. When the abuse was brought to light, immediate action was taken by the church. Just stop on the illegal boarding house trash talk. That dog didn’t hunt years ago and won’t hunt now. The complaints… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

Willful excuse making is exactly how child abuse is covered up and facilitated. Do yourself a favor and engage in some critical thinking and research not sanctioned by the CREC. The facts are clear. You might also start by listening to the actual victim in this debacle Natalie herself. Her blog details quite clearly what went down without Wilson’s slippery parsing. Shall I lead you by the nose to it? Or can you use google.

Dave
Guest
Dave

RandMan, have you been to the court house to review the actual documents? I have. Did you know Gary Greenfield during this issue? I did. Natalie’s blog and comments do not ring true because she changed her story. Wight and Gary Greenfield carry a huge burden for this abuse and now years after the fact, this attempt is made to discredit Wilson and Christ Church. Google is full of erroneous stories concerning this issue and it is full of various lies by those who hate God and Wilson. Natalie says she was abandoned by the church. No, she turned her… Read more »

RandMan
Guest
RandMan

I have no idea who you are and don’t care what you claim to have seen or not. I have read Natalie’s account of her life and experiences and find them credible, you should read them too. I have read Wilson’s account, witnessed his blog here during the past year and found him typically slippery, self-serving and disingenuous. He perversely enjoys this controversy as it allows him to push his self-educated ideas re child abuse. He failed Natalie and her family and protected and sided his own student (who has since proven himself to be an even bigger piece of… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

RandMan, I do read Natalie’s blog. Her account isn’t true. Wilson didn’t fail Natalie. Natalie turned away from God and away from the church. Natalie is failing herself by attempting to shift blame — a common occurrence in abuse cases — and Wilson is the target. No one is apologizing for Sitler or Wight. You are way off base. RandMan, you say you don’t believe in God so why are you concerned about what happened? Those of us in the church are concerned because of Biblical principles and Biblical based values. Since you don’t believe in God and Biblical values,… Read more »

Arwenb
Guest
Arwenb

“Illegal boarding house”

For that matter, no one points out all of the fraternities and sororities that house a whole passel of unrelated people under the same roof.

valerieab
Member

I love this verse. Of all the one-anothers in the Bible, this is the only one we are told to do *daily*. Every athlete needs both coaches and cheerleaders — the corrective brand of encouragement and the supportive brand. It takes wisdom to know when to give which and in what measure. And I love this exhortation. As one who has struggled to rejoice under this attack, I have been grateful for those who have encouraged me. As someone who has found a safe, healthy, protective, loving community at Christ Church, I take it too personally when people try to… Read more »

insanitybytes22
Member

Amen! I am encouraged to hear that. I truly love it when a church comes together and supports one another. Cheerful fortitude, that’s the spirit.