The Great Omission?

I was once trying to witness to a guy who had a lot of personal pain. It was easy to see his hurt when he started opening up to me. We had several long conversations over the course of the next couple of weeks and I sensed that I was getting in over my head. He had issues that was beyond my ability to help in any practical way so I continually insisted that he come to church. I knew that if I could at least get him to church, it would be a good first step in pointing him in the direction of some real help. I finally had to get emphatic and insistent saying, “You say you want help but I’m not seeing it. I’ve been inviting you to church and you have yet to come.” He later divulged the reason for: Our church meets in local high school auditoriums and he is restricted as a registered sexual offender from coming within 1,000 feet of a school. Had our services been held in a traditional church setting, there would have been no legal restrictions to him coming. Having an 11 year-old daughter, I must admit that it was a little bit of a struggle to remain objective and non-judgemental. I mean, he absolutely needs Christ, maybe even more than the next guy, but do I want him sitting next to my daughter in service? What are your thoughts?

Does your pursuit of reaching the lost for Christ have limits?

How comfortable are you knowing that there could be sexual offenders going to the same church as your family? If you became aware of an offender attending your church, would you act differently toward the person or would it even matter?

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5 responses to “The Great Omission?

  1. I would make sure he didn’t take part in any ministries involving children. I’m not as concerned about a person who admits this to someone as I am someone who HASN’T admitted it–at least you know what precautions you need to take.

    The larger question I see in your post, Brian, is something I struggle with a lot–where is the line between truly helping someone grow as a Christian, or becoming a dumping ground for someone who wants to talk and wants a lot of empathy but doesn’t want to change? There are a lot of churches out there that would be an alternative option for him since he can’t attend yours . . . including, I’ll bet, some small churches made up of primarily adults or older people.

    I do think you need to take some care in not just cutting him off once he’s shared information of this magnitude with you. He needs to know of God’s forgiveness . . . but he also needs to accept responsibility for the hurt he’s caused.

  2. I understand the feelings behind this, Brian, however… I wouldn’t go as far as saying that this person needs Christ any more than you or I. I believe we are all depraved in our own sin, some sins just happen to be more touchy to us as humans than they probably are to God. I would think that God would look at my sin the same as He would this man. That being said, I would invite him to our home connection groups because that is where our Church really is. We also have worship service on Sundays in a high school cafeteria, so that wouldn’t work. I would try to meet his needs in other Church settings. We get together every Tuesday for these home groups and this is where we really fellowship. And then on Saturdays, a bunch of the guys get together and play basketball, flag football, etc… he could probably benefit from something like this as well, with lots of prayer.

  3. I would skip the church thing for now and see if there’s a Celebrate Recovery or Sex Addicts Anonymous that meets nearby. They’ve got people that have seen it all before and can help folks with all sorts of issues.

  4. I definitely wouldn’t soley rely on human endeavors, Des. Most people trying to help people recover are deep in their own abyss as well. We all need more than secular assistance.

  5. Thank you all for your comments. They are definitely helpful in such a “touchy” situation, maybe not the best choice of a word in this instance, ketch22. Good point, though, that “we are all depraved in our own sin.” What I actually meant is that he needed Christ more for his own sake not because his sin is any worse than mine–does that make sense? Oh, and Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered program–didn’t even think about that, Des. seekinghispurpose, you’re absolutely right, dumping ground is not good soil and oftentimes becomes stinky. He needs the washing with the Word.

    At any rate, I love Proverbs 27:17, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” I appreciate having you all as a grinding wheel. God bless!

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