Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.
We should remember that we are all sinners. Recently the news media have been filled with stories of rich men who have obtained ‘super-injunctions’ to stop the press from revealing their sexual indiscretions to the wider public. Most of us have no interest in what they have been doing, but it certainly sells newspapers.
When we are faced with church members who have strayed, our watchword should be compassion. We are not interested in punishing them but in restoring them. I was once given the task of counselling a Pastor who was having an affair. At the time we weren’t sure about it – the evidence only emerged later – but to my face he denied it and persisted in the lie. I found it a very distressing experience and today he is far from the Lord.
Should I have been more forthright and threatening? My advice was that should the allegations be true then his right course was to admit them and ask for forgiveness, but he was unwilling to humble (he would say humiliate) himself in this way. I guess that this revealed his true state of mind.