by J. Randal Matheny, editor
After we arrived back home in Brazil on a Saturday, the bomb fell on Sunday morning. The saints were confused, frightened and shocked. I was dazed. The announcement came from nowhere, and all our work would be affected.
We spent a good part of the following week helping the brothers and sisters deal with the impact.
To help us with some talking points, I jotted down these items for our reflection. When the world crumbles around us, here are some truths we need to remember and re-affirm.
1. Avoid speculation about the nature of the problem that caused the brother’s departure. No one is edified by imagining reasons or causes that are impossible to know without the brother revealing it. Let’s work with the information we have at hand.
2. No purpose is served by self-recrimination, trying to imagine what we left off doing or should have done. All our energies should be devoted to thinking of what we can and should do now. Not that we want to prohibit analysis of what led to our situation, but focus on the restoration of the fallen.
3. Let us not get discouraged, because this brother, a pillar in the church, has departed. No one is above temptation, for even an apostle betrayed the Lord and committed suicide. Any child of God is liable to temptation and falling into sin. Even missionaries and full-time preachers have sinned and fallen from grace. It is possible for the Evil One to harm any disciple.
4. Because of this, we should consider ourselves, examining the dangers to ourselves and following the instruction of Paul in Galatians 6:2, in the context of correcting a brother overcome by sin: “Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too” (NET). Let us confess our sins to one another, according to James 5:16.
5. “Let us hope for the best, and prepare for the worst.” We desire the brother’s repentance and believe that at any moment he may turn and return to the Lord’s fellowship. At the same time, we should be prepared already to deal with the consequences that his decision brings upon the congregation.
6. Let each one judge best how and when to communication with the fallen brother, considering the distance and the lack of openness after his announcement.
7. Let us continue steadfast in prayer for him, his wife and children. Certainly, God hears our intercessions. He can work in any and every situation and his work will not cease because of any single person.
8. Let us look for the good which God can and will produce from such a difficult moment for the congregation. God is in control and he will fulfill his will. Remember Romans 8:28.
It is comforting to know that while we are deprived for now of a friend and brother, the Lord will never forsake us and will uphold us at every moment.
When disaster strikes, here are some truths we need to re-affirm.