Have you ever noticed how quickly people will rush to forgive known deceivers? I’m talking about deceivers who are busy cheating, lying, committing adultery; those who are abusive drunks or drug addicts, or who are purposely sinning in some other way, who were caught red-handed in their sin, after generally deceiving everyone into thinking they were “godly” men and women…
Unfortunately, most seem to be ready, willing and able to immediately "take them back" the moment they apologize - no matter WHAT they did!
Equally sad is that these same people rushing to forgive knowns sinners, will also quickly ostracize those who warn others about the sinner, and those who attempt to find two witnesses to help them confront the sinner in hopes of getting him/her back onto YHWH’s Path! (I know this from experience because I once attempted to lead a sister in our former congregation back onto YHWH’s Path, who was committing adultery. Things turned ugly when I approached the other Elders’ wives to help me confront and pray with that sister (whom I had actually already counseled in private). Ultimately, that whole congregation fell apart because the leaders had allowed “the enemy” to gain a foothold….)
People who are quick to forgive sinners (and judge YOU for attempting to step in), clearly don’t know that Scripture commands us to stay completely away from those who purposely sin and refuse correction. (See Deuteronomy 13:4-18; 24:7, to mention just a couple of passages.) Of course, today, we don’t have YHWH Himself commanding us to put the evil-doers to death. (If an evil-doer has been found guilty of a heinous crime, then the justice system will decide what to do with him or her.)
The thing is, we DO have scriptures that tell us to STAY AWAY from people who refuse to walk according to Torah – especially if they refuse any “Matthew 18” correction. We’re not to blindly “forgive and forget” just because they’ve apologized! This holds true especially if the perp was a Messianic or Hebrew Roots teacher. You don’t arbitrarily forgive those who purposely sinned and simply allow them to return to continue teaching, as if nothing ever happened! They’re no longer qualified to teach because they should have KNOWN better!
Matthew 18:15 And if your brother with you is at fault, go rebuke him, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have won your brother. 16. And if he does not listen to you, take with you one or two others, because of the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word is established. 17. And if he will also not listen to them, tell the congregation. And if he will also not listen to the congregation, let him be to you like a tax collector and like a heathen. (AENT)
Oh sure, they’re “sorry” and asking for forgiveness – because they got caught! But what qualifies them to return to your “friends list” or congregation and expect to continue teaching and preaching to YOU? YHWH expects HIS people to be HOLY, set apart from the world. If you wish to forgive them and allow them to return to “your world,” fine – but they should NOT be allowed to even give the appearance of trying to “teach” anyone….
1 Corinthians 5: 11. But this is what I wrote to you, that you don't mix, if anyone is called a brother, and is a sexual sinner, or avaricious, or an idol-worshipper, or a charlatan, or a drunkard, or rapacious, with him who is such, not even to eat bread. 12. For what business have I to judge them who are without? But those within the body, you judge, 13. and those without, Elohim judges; and remove you the wickedness from among you. (AENT)
NOTE: Breaking of bread, of course, is a timeworn Middle Eastern custom that is done only with family and friends. If you cannot eat with someone (as Peter tried to separate himself in Galatians 2:13), then you cannot associate with them at all. If the sinner was out of the assembly, you were not permitted to persecute them. However, you could, and in fact you must, demand that such a person put away detestable habits if they are to join the assembly and partake of the communal and havdilah meals that Y'shua and his disciples enjoyed.
Here is another dire warning for the “bleeding hearts” who don’t believe in holding people accountable for their actions:
Ezekiel 3:18 If I say to a wicked person, 'You will certainly die'; and you fail to warn him, to speak and warn the wicked person to leave his wicked way and save his life; then that wicked person will die guilty; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 19 On the other hand, if you warn the wicked person, and he doesn't turn from his wickedness or his wicked way, then he will still die guilty; but you will have saved your own life.
20 Similarly, when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and commits wickedness, I will place a stumblingblock before him - he will die; because you failed to warn him, he will die in his sin; his righteous acts which he did will not be remembered; and I will hold you responsible for his death. 21 But if you warn the righteous person that a righteous person should not sin, and he doesn't sin; then he will certainly live, because he took the warning; and you too will have saved your life." (CJB)
If a brother or sister has "fallen from grace," it is our DUTY to speak up and tell them how and why they're "off the mark." This holds true, no matter WHO they are!
So many of "our" teachers have "fallen from grace" over the years, yet people continue to promote, and even defend these teachers and their teachings – and they will verbally blast anyone who attempts to tell them otherwise. The truth is, Scripture reveals that "teachers" are held to a higher standard and should be as blameless before YHWH as is humanly possible because they should KNOW Scripture inside-out (James 3:1).
If they've committed sins against Him, it usually turns out to be a "deliberate" sin - for which there is no sin sacrifice! (Please see our article on deliberate sinning.) People who committed deliberate sins during Israel's 40 years in the wilderness, were KILLED because YHWH commanded that HIS people to "rid themselves of such evil from among them."
Yet, today, we seem to be all about "forgiveness" of anything including deliberate sins. That is why churches and synagogues reek with "religiosity." Many insist on watering down the Word and immediately accuse us of “judging” if we dare attempt to rectify a situation. (This kind of “upside-down” thinking is why humanity keeps getting worse and more vicious, violent and unruly; and why the world is in the bad shape it’s in….)
Many reading this will counter: "But scripture says 'Don't judge, so that you won't be judged'!", quoting Matthew 7:1.
What they fail to do is to continue reading verse 2 where Matthew goes on to say: "For the way you judge others is how you will be judged..." Judgment is always to be made with Torah as the standard of judgment - not your own interpretation. Torah is the only measure of sin. So, when you have pointed out a person's sin according to transgression of Torah, you are not judging according to the world or your own standards; you are judging righteously!
Therefore, if you see a brother or sister who is about to “fall off a cliff” and out of YHWH’s grace – don’t be afraid to tell them, or to warn others whenever that particular sinner refuses correction….
You certainly don’t want to be guilty of having “their blood on your hands” come Judgment Day!