How seriously do we take the command to not associate with the unrepentant sinner who claims to be a brother/sister in Christ? Do you even do it? Do you indulge it? Do you treat it as acceptable behavior? Do you forgive it? Only God has the power to forgive sin and yet we say to our brothers and sisters in Christ,"It's okay." Sometimes I wonder if I did this to the full extent if I would actually have anyone left to eat with. Could I even eat with myself? So, I too repent.
I have had 2 friends in the past year or so who were confronted by the same issues - both people in love. One fell on her knees and cried out to God and admitted to our church the sin she infected the body with. The other stored up bitterness and hurled it on a bystander. Why do we look at others when we have sinned against God? We blame, and name call, and refuse the gift of repentance to be right. We refuse the inward look. Is introspection a dead art?
Could you? Would you refuse to eat with a sister in Christ who refuses to repent in order to show that their lifestyle is unacceptable to God? Would you be willing to love someone that much? Would you risk your friendship and all you get from people to step across the line in the sand and love them more like Christ? Are you suitable to eat with?
So watch yourselves.
"If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.
1 Corinthians 5:9-12 (Amplified Bible)
9 I wrote you in my [previous] letter not to associate [closely and habitually] with unchaste (impure) people--
10 Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world, or the greedy graspers and cheats and thieves or idolaters, since otherwise you would need to get out of the world and human society altogether!
11 But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.
12 What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]?