I have always believed that whilst there is forgiveness of sin, the earthly consequences can remain. And once we are made aware of our sinful action/s, sometimes all we can do to 'fix' the consequences is to pray for their healing, freedom and release.
I hear you Graham, but have you walked in the other's shoes?
Jo555 also wrote;
So, back onto how you've been treated and the topic of judgement...I believe it is fine to be on guard around those that have had a history (I know, we all do...but think you all know what I mean)...in fact, I'm for reservations around strangers, but I believe it is wrong to treat the repentant the same as the unrepentant.
I just want to make sure that you understand something about what I wrote. It was in the context of Mike's first post and question; i.e. in relation to the letter he received from a 'pastor' who was trying to expose an alleged pedophile and was 'apparently' expecting expulsion or some such action. (Of course I may have misunderstood this and jumped to a conclusion, but that is how I took it and what I responded to.)
Do not read within my response any feeling of self pity or any concern for the way in which I personally am treated. There isn't any. I was simply pointing out, based on my understanding of Scripture, a very real issue of why the lost are often not attracted to the 'church' of today. I was also trying to give Mike, not out of presumption but because he asked for it, feed back on the theological handling of the situation with a very practical testimony.
As for walking a mile in the 'other sides' shoes, I could give a testimony on that side too. But another theological issue that needs practical application in our lives is the truth about leniency and forgiveness. I do not need to be 'lenient' to those who have abused or molested me as a child, or as an adult; they are forgiven and their sins are removed as far as the east is to the west.
Does that mean I now condone abuse of any type? Of course not, that would also be a total misapplication of Scripture. But the purpose of forgiveness is for our sake, not the offenders. They need to find forgiveness for themselves; which they can only find by meeting my best friend, Jesus.
Would it be too much to say that the world has taught us the wrong approach to forgiveness? When we forgive someone, we actually do set them free; but not from the consequence of their sin. If that was true then that means that we and not God determines consequence. We set them free from our personal anger and bitterness so that they can see an example of God's love for them. Is it not true that we really set them free so that there are no longer any roadblocks to their personal relationship with God?
But study forgiveness and you will see that the one who actually benefits the most here on earth is the forgiver. It sets them free to be forgiven and releases all of the hurt, bitterness and other damages of unforgiveness. Fail to forgive, fail to be forgiven.
Then of course, there is the issue of 'earthly consequence'. I would never dream of being a part of someone's life, including my church family, without total accountability for my past. Any offender who tries to run from their past has not yet dealt with their past in a true Biblical manner. My testimony is a testimony of forgiveness, deliverance and healing; not an excuse to now be treated as if it never happened while I dodge the issues of accountability.
Let me also say that while my experiences with the 'religious community at large' have been very interesting, it has not all been one sided. My wife and I are the leaders of our group, a small number of honest folk who earnestly seek intimacy with their Saviour. Obviously, as their leaders, we have not only their love and forgiveness but also their respect and mutual efforts in our journey of faith. I have met many wonderful Christians, and from many different denominations, who are not typical of the 'religious system'. I often wonder, and forgive me for this, I do not wish to be negative, just honest, how many church goers today are actually 'saved'? And how many are just members of their local social club?
My last comment is about another step I always take in relation to the sort of issue Mike faced. I not only respond to the accuser, but I also often talk to the accused. Now this may not be relevant to this case because Mike has only pointed out one post several years ago, but the community in which we walk needs to be accountable for it to be safe. And or course, that person may also be in need of some love and care from someone who can lead them deeper into freedom from their past. If it is dealt with then they will not have a bad reaction, it will be a time of celebration and a sharing of what Jesus has done. If it isn't dealt with, it needs to be.