Avoiding the Scandal
“Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!”
I was in my last year of high school when one of the “respected” men from our church asked to talk to me. He brought me into a side room because he told me what he needed to talk to me about was private. His conversation was a mere attack against my dad who was the pastor of the church. He told me that my dad needed to be removed as pastor, and he was asking me to vote against my own family. This man’s efforts eventually came to naught, but not without damaging younger Christians.
The verse above warns about these situations. God said that “offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” There are several reasons why you must avoid being a part of something as wicked as what this man did in our church.
First, it hurts “little ones.” I believe God is talking about two groups of people when He says, “little ones.” First, I believe He is talking about little children. Many children grow up bitter towards God and the church because of people who start church scandals. I have talked to scores of people who want nothing to do with church because they endured such wickedness. Whether or not their excuse is justified, it is a fact that many have been hurt because of church scandals.
Moreover, I believe God is also talking about young Christians. I have never seen a church go through a church split without younger Christians being hurt. There are so many sad stories of young Christians who became disillusioned with Christianity because of a church scandal. Before you ever allow yourself to get involved in a church scandal, consider the effects it will have on those young Christians who don’t know any better.
Second, church scandals always keep the lost from getting saved. Jesus made it clear in verse 11 that He came to save the lost. One reason people get involved in these types of problems is because they are not staying focused on the lost. Most of the people who start these scandals are backslidden Christians who stopped soul winning. If the only reason you don’t get yourself involved in these types of situations it should be so that the lost world isn’t turned off by a squabbling church.
Third, church scandals are a direct result of selfishness. In verses 15-35, God deals with forgiveness. One main reason people are offended and don’t forgive is because they have taken something personally. In every situation that I have seen a person go on the attack, it is because at some point they are were offended and wouldn’t forgive the offender. Always remember that scandals are selfish in nature, and forgiveness should be the action, not scandals.
My friend, the reason you should avoid a scandal is because God holds you accountable for those who are hurt. God says it is better to cut off a hurt body part than it is to be involved in church scandals. Certainly, if sin is being committed, the church needs to deal with it; however, never let personality conflicts become the source of church scandals. Personality conflicts have no part in the ministry and are a direct result of self-focus. You will avoid being the scandalizer if you will keep your eyes on the LORD.