Admonishing the Sinner

I was reminded today that we are not to judge one another for judgment, especially in regard to eternal things, is reserved to God alone.    What then are we to do with our brothers and sisters who have sinned?  Are we to be silent lest we stray into judgment?  This seems to be the common theme in the ELCA these days.  If we see a brother or sister whose behavior is leading them away from God we are told that to call this to their notice is ‘being judgmental’.  The argument then runs, ‘we are all sinners, so we cannot judge.’  which is intended to end the conversation and close the subject.  It does nothing to address the fact that a brother or sister has actually sinned.  Worse, it allows the brother or sister for whom Christ suffered and died to remain in their sin, thus endangering their salvation.  We would prefer, it seems, to allow someone to be cut off from God forever than to commit the ‘offense’ of calling their sin what it is, sin.

While ought not judge one another, leaving that eternal decision to the Father, we can admonish the sinner.  Admonishment does not condemn for only God can do that, admonishment points out the truth, that  words, actions, or thoughts can lead one away from the Father.  Admonishing the sinner is showing them the love God has for them by warning that their thoughts, words or deeds do have consequences, consequences right now in the harm they can do to their relationship with God and the neighbor.  It also warns them that if left alone our sins will cut us off from God.  Instead of being unloving, it is very much at the heart of God’s love in Christ to warn, to admonish, that sin does still kill, emotionally, spiritually and eternally.

It is because the love of Christ compels us, we will admonish the sinner so that they may see the danger they are in, that they may turn from it and be restored to the Father.  Let us admonish one another so that we may be more fully in Christ.


1 Response to “Admonishing the Sinner”

  1. 1 Wayne
    October 20, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Admonish a good word for what we are to do Thank you for the post

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