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May 10 Tough love for disobedient

2 Thess 3:14-15 “But if anyone does not obey our message through this letter, take note~~ of him and do not associate closely~| with him, so that he may be ashamed. 15 Yet do not regard~| him as an enemy, but admonish~~ him as a brother.”

“Tough love” is the ability to teach the negative consequences of disobedience without showing rejection or changing the relationship.

If a child does not learn by experience that disobedience is painful, he will have to learn correction as an adult, which is far more hurtful.

Paul makes it clear that “if anyone does not obey our [instructions] in this letter,” he must be corrected. Believers are to understand the commands and decide to obey them. Paul’s writings under inspiration are treated as God’s Words.

Thus the commands are meaningless if there are no consequences for disobedience: “God promises that He will punish the disobedient child of His . . . No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it” (Heb 12:10–-11NIV).

The first consequence is that the entire congregation is to literally “continually be taking note of that person and stop associating with him,” which means “stop mixing with or mingling” with him socially.

Since Paul warned him twice on the issue of idleness in his first letter (1 Thes 4:11; 5:14), this third step in church discipline is to teach that those who refuse to obey the commands “will be put to shame,” which means to “reflect on their action; to be embarrassed or ashamed of themselves.”

It is to help them see themselves as rebellious, self–willed, and self–centered sinners who have acted unworthily of Christ’s name and to urge them to repent with a change in their behavior. Discipline is the means to the goal for a godly character.

Since this is not yet the fourth and final step as Jesus taught (Matt 18:17), the other members of the church must “stop regarding him as an enemy;” rather, the entire congregation is to “admonish him as a brother” or to “warn and exhort.”

The congregation must have been carefully taught this process previously: “If anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” (Gal 6:1).

Do you love the family and brethren enough to exhort and discipline?

“Loving Lord, Give me wisdom to recognize those who will not receive correction and humbly treat them as You command.”

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