Am I a Doctor’s Helper Who Is Allergic to Sick People?

how do we work with diseased people and churches?

A response and question from my blog post of August 1, 2017: “Brother I liked your article Do you know a sound congregation? I know why I would write an article like this, but I am curious why you did? Just curious…thank you and love you.”

I don’t think I serve the cause of unity by making breaks in fellowship before God makes them. If I get angry and accusatory at people who have different views and encouraging others to stay away from them, either by my command, example, or necessary inference, I’m promoting divisiveness.

If I cannot work with churches and people less than perfect, I’m not following the example of Jesus who ate with sinners, selected imperfect men as the cabinet in His kingdom, and attracted misfits to Him.

When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Mark 2:17, NKJV).

My experience in the past ten years of interim ministry is that churches in the worst trouble are the easiest to work with. When they see their mess and don’t know where to turn, they’re teachable. When a church “has it all together” and an image to protect and project, they aren’t in learning mode.

Churches in the worst trouble are the easiest to work with. Click To Tweet

Imperfect people and churches need to be corrected—not condemned and abandoned—until they persistently show they have no intention of correcting. I don’t think that needs to be done in the first two weeks of hearing they did something I don’t like. When and if the divide comes, the door needs to be left open, shoes prepared, calf fattened, clothes clean, and the party prepared when individuals can be seen in the distance coming home. Dead churches can have live Christians in them (Revelation 3:1-4).

If I condemn them to hell, withdraw fellowship from them, and publish warnings in brotherhood papers and on Facebook when they clapped after a baptism or one elder reads KJV only and encourages others to do so, I don’t think I’m following what I read in the Bible about Corinth and the seven churches of Asia. Most of those churches were in a mess, but they still had candlesticks.

I push people away and solidify the divide when I shoot first and ask questions later. Click To Tweet

The point of my post, Do You Know of a Sound Congregation…? is not where we go to services on vacation.

My suggestion is labels of “sound” and “unsound,” indicating that anyone in that church and the church itself is not recognized by the Lord may not be accurate. It is my observation that many reasons many brethren label a church “unsound” and warn others about them do not promote unity and encouragement to grow.

The Holy Spirit through Paul had not written off Corinth when Paul wrote his letter to them. Yet they had attitude problems, moral problems, worship problems, maturity problems, marriage problems, and doctrinal problems (resurrection). Paul wrote to correct the problems they had. He addressed those problems. But he began the letter: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Most of the seven churches of Asia had serious problems. Yet when John wrote Jesus’ messages to them, they all had a candlestick.

Who came out better in the end, the One who ate with tax collectors and sinners or the ones who thought Jesus was “unsound” because He did?

“He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

How do you work with people who are less than perfect (including yourself)?

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8 thoughts on “Am I a Doctor’s Helper Who Is Allergic to Sick People?

    • And who’s word do you take?

      Do you shift with every evaluation?

      Each person and congregation must be accountable to the Lord with what they do.

      Thank you for reading and responding.

  1. Good thoughts, and i agree with you. The devil’s strategy is divide and conquer. This is the reason the Lord’s church is splintered all over the world..

  2. Jerrie, will you address a practical response for a person who is IN a congregation fitting any church in Revelation in danger of having their “candlestick” removed? I beleive that’s in a past blog, but perhaps bears repeating.

    • Peggy,

      I’ve been thinking about a blog post on “When to Start a New Church When You Don’t Like the One You’re In.” If you have anything to contribute, I need all the help I can get.

  3. One of the Scripture passages that God has repeatedly highlighted for me is Matthew 7: 1 – 5. The ironic thing is that, whenever I have forgotten or ignored this warning throughout my Christian life (personal, ministry or family), it has always come back at me like a boomerang, as I was judged, condemned and ostracized by others (reaping what I sowed…with interest added!).

    I’ve never been one to learn things the quick or easy way, so the learning continues… The good news is that the lesson is gradually taking a firmer hold 🙂

    • J.N.,

      I appreciate your insight and honesty. The law of sowing and reaping is great when the seed is popcorn. It’s horrible when bitterweed has been sown.

      I can identify with being a slow learner.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.