The recent Norway Terror Attack has plagued the headlines for the second day now.  The details are public knowledge.  If you are reading this blog, you probably know the details well enough to understand why Christians would rush in to dip their fingers into the pool hoping to protect the institution they are associated with.  Reading Christian bloggers and ordained ministers disowning a brother, if the terrorist was indeed a Christian, reveals something similar in the words of Caiaphas—”It is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” – John 11:50.  Jesus later on revealed that Caiaphas  is guilty of a terrible sin (John 19:11).  When Peter was asked if he was with Christ, thrice he denied his Lord.  When Judas placed self-interest over fellowship, he sold his master for 30 pieces of silver.


Why is it that when we perceive that we will be in the receiving end of hostility, many scramble to abandon a brother? The question is not whether or not this terrorist is a Christian.  The question rather, is that when a Christian brother is caught in sin, is it okay to ditch him out of the fellowship of believers. If your pastor commits adultery, is it proper to disown him? If your elder is using drugs, is it okay to just ditch him out as if he was never one of you in the first place?

To be a Christian is to be aware that one is sinful.  Do we sin after bending our knees to Christ? Of course!  What makes us different from the terrorist? Surely, no  Christian would use the gravity of offense as an excuse to justify him disowning a brother.  The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).  It doesn’t matter how big or small it is.  Once you sin, it’s lights out.

Galatians 6:10 says, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

What good is it to disown a brother for sinning when you are a sinner as well? When the church rejects a man, where can he find refuge? How can he find help when the place where he is supposed to go to is filled with people who wants to kick him out? To be a Christian is to know that we are not perfect but rather sinners in need of help.  We go to church not because we are spotless, but because we are dirty and hungry.  A Singaporean brother shared with me that Christians are like beggars who go to other beggars to tell them where to find food.  To see how a lot of Christians respond by kicking a brother out of his share of bread is saddening.  Mahatma Gandhi never became a Christian because during the time he attempted to attend a worship service, the pastor kicked him out of the church.  Since then, he coined the famous line “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

This is just an advice.  He who has an ear, let him hear.  He who can understand, let him understand.  Do not disown a brother… ever.

God is not willing that anyone should perish but that all may come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).  No matter how deep a Christian sink into sin, he is still a brother… a sinner like us who needs to be cradled in God’s arms.  One might ask, “but what about the victims? Have you no heart?” of course I do have a heart.  Not disowning a brother does not mean you approve of what he did.  It is simply to show that both the victims and the terrorist needed God’s forgiveness… because we are all equally guilty of sin.

Galatians 2:13 is a very good example of this.  It says, “When Peter came to Antioch, I (Paul) opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.”

This is a small thing in comparison to the Spanish Inquisition and the Crusades where bloods were shed in the millions.  We didn’t rush to claim that these guys were not Christians.  They were… and they were wrong.  What the terrorist did was at odds with Christ’s teachings… and he was wrong as well.  The greatest commandments are (1) to love God with everything you’ve got and (2) to love our neighbor as ourselves (Mark 12:28-31).  I find it interesting that none of these talks about theology and behavior.  The top two commandments share a thing in common: love… and if I fail to love, I am nothing… for when faith, hope, and love remains, the greatest of them… is love (1 Corinthians 13).


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