When sin is committed among fellow brothers and sisters in the church it must be confronted with Scripture and through the process of Matt 18. Even if it is a person in a leadership position. There is a mistaken belief that a member in the church can never confront a pastor or elder, that the rest of us are second class citizens in the church.
Yes, an elder must be accused of a sin with the testimony of 2, 3 others (1 Tim. 5:19). The key aspect of the verse is that when you accuse an elder others must substantiate and be witness to the sin that has been committed.
You have heard me say before that there are two sides in every conflict, and that both parties have their own perspective. This is why it is imperative that a few key things take place:
1) The accuser must examine himself and become willing to allow others to point out their sin in the matter at hand if necessary.
Confrontation has a personal cost as you humble yourself before them, asking their forgiveness for real and perceived injustices, and doing what is necessary to make things right with them.
2) You must confront them with biblical error or specific sin. In this case no squishy stuff will do. If you cannot name their specific sin you cannot confront them with sin.
The emotional component in such cases is enormous. Very often the leaders have become important people to us. They are our pastors, teachers, deacons, or other elders. You might have tried to confess and repent your own sin to them and made no progress. They may have turned your own words back on you and used them against you and no matter what you try they refuse to reconcile and ask your forgiveness.
There comes a time when we are causing ourselves harm by attempting to effect reconciliation. It is like a divorce is taking place and the emotion is very high.
I have experienced this first hand, and I completely understand the emotions that accompany these "church divorces." The level of hurt is nearly indescribable. We are used to hearing disparaging remarks from those unredeemed people in our lives, but when a fellow Christian says things that are so very hurtful, the pain can be searing.
Christians can be as unreasonable as non-Christians. Christians can refuse to be rational and stick to their own opinions and perspectives despite being shown what is true and real! We mistakenly have this idea that when we deal with a fellow Christ-follower that none of the usual rules apply .
Next time wse will address this.