Probably the majority of us believe its right for the person who robbed the bank to go to jail or the murderer to perhaps have to pay with his life. For most of the situations which violate our secular laws we would vote to see the criminal “do the time”. I don’t think we would agree that it would be a good thing to give the robber a taser in exchange for his gun in order to reduce the possible harm as he continues robbing. Nor do I think most of us would vote the punishment for grand theft auto to be driving lessons on how to be safe in car chases as they run from the police the next time they steal a car. Our secular society has made, what most of us believe to be as wise punishments proportionate to the crimes people commit. We did this for 2 reasons, the first is to punish the perpetrator so he hopefully stops his life of crime and the second is as a deterrent to others who might consider doing likewise. I think most of us would think it absurd to have a free store for criminals to pick up condoms before they head out to rape or to get rubber bullets for their gun before a robbery. We would hopefully never do such a thing as it sends a mixed message to the criminal as well as communicates to others considering a life of crime to “jump right in the water’s fine”.
I think most of us feel bad when we read about the person who got pregnant out of wedlock and it caused lots of challenges. Or consider the person whose life or career path got changed because they got hepatitis from sharing drug needles. And yet these are just a couple of examples in which natural law follows a predictable path as we do unwise, unhealthy or even what might be considered un-godly things. If given the chance many of us might have suggested or even provided birth control to the young girl who has chosen to have casual sex or perhaps even clean needles to the person enjoying many of the I.V. drugs out there.
I suggest, in the strongest terms possible, that when thoughtful or considerate people (I am not questioning the heart here) interject well meaning acts of harm reduction or harm prevention into the lives of people who have chosen to not follow God’s laws we are derailing and thwarting God’s intended spiritual lessons of cause and effect. If the young girl who by all appearances is what most would consider a “good Christian girl” has decided it’s ok to be sleeping around and then gets a pass from people Paul refers to as “those who are spiritual” what have we just accomplished? We have done three things, all of which fight against God and place our well intended purposes above Gods’ divinely ordained deterrents to sin. On the first hand we have sent a message to that young girl to keep on sinning. The second is of a similar nature but to other young girls who witness the fact that nothing has really changed for the first girl. That translates into a de-facto “stamp of approval” for all other girls that God didn’t really mean what He said about not fornicating (having sex outside of marriage). And finally we have communicated to a lost and dying world that the Christian church is little more than another club to be a part of who changes its standards and expectations with the shifting of cultural practices.
If there ever was a time in history in which the Gospel message, which includes a goodly number of scriptures about holiness, is being seen by the un-churched as insincere, inconsistent and milquetoast it is today. Holiness, spiritual accountability and discipleship are all but a distant memory that speaks of a different time and season when the church is judged as having been intolerant, judgmental and narrow. But narrow is exactly the path described in scripture that few will find which leads to life.
Am I suggesting harsh and uncaring practices? No, but I must point out that just a few verses later in Galatians 6 where “those who are spiritual are supposed to gently restore the one caught in sin” Paul makes it clear that “God is not mocked … those who sow to the flesh will reap destruction”. If we are constantly building safety nets for the sinners in our midst we are fighting against and mocking Gods’ plan. I encourage a return to by gone days when sin in my life, your life and the lives of your brothers and sisters in the Lord is not acceptable, is strongly confronted in love combined with a willingness to consider carefully the many scriptures which deal with how to treat an un-repentant brother or sister (shunning is in there often) who is making a mockery of God by their fraternity/sorority approach to Christianity. Why, because our brand of compassion is short sighted but Gods’ eternal approach to compassion turns the sinner from their way (James 5:19) and warns others from considering the path of sin (1 Timothy 5:20 – Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also will be fearful of sinning).