11But now I write to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of [Christian] brother if he is known to be guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater [whose soul is devoted to any object that usurps the place of God], or is a person with a foul tongue [railing, abusing, reviling, slandering], or is a drunkard or a swindler or a robber. [No] you must not so much as eat with such a person.
This is a non-eloquent example of Paul's teaching (just say no) and where it hits me is that in order for me to know if my cohorts in Christ are guilty of immorality, greediness, idolatry, abuse, drunkenness, cheating is for me to know my cohorts and for them to know me. I am feeling a bit vulnerable, now. We must be involved with the other pilgrims on our journey so we can discern how the talk matches the walk and they can know my walky-talky ways, too. This goes beyond a clinical, x-ray sort of knowing, I think...we can't just scan them and make the determination...we must poke, probe, and ask questions of each other.
It doesn't say to love them out of their sin or intervene and rescue them. It doesn't direct continually pouring into them in hope of healing that might soon be there (cuts that co-dependant/enabler thing right out of the equation). God's living and true Word says to not associate with them and to not even eat with them, (I know that hospitality was akin to godliness in the ancient east's lifestyle (even for pagans), so to refuse to eat with another was a huge charge to the believers). So, you must know and be known by a person, let your walls down, experience the tenderness for another that comes from being created in His image, and potentially cast him/her out from among the body...for his/her own good and ours.
So, this sinful person, in terms of the body, may have been a big toe, an elbow or maybe just a hangnail; but it still hurts when you cut off part of your body. And there will be a crippling of sorts if he/she had been a big toe or elbow. If a hangnail he/she is, perhaps just a great deal of relief; but a wound still needs tending, cleaning and healing to stay the infection. There is an aftermath of such an event.
So my response is that I must be open to my cohorts in Christ, I must know and be known by them, I must be careful to mourn the sins and not to make room for the sin to be natural, acceptable or welcome (not become prideful because we have a ____-ministry that has no confrontation of _______ sin), put on my "spiritual big girl pants" and prayerfully follow through with God's word, (no, not become a one-person, sin-vigilante seeking to pop out any that fall afoul of what I think...but follow God's leading and the direction of the leadership of the church to seek and to save...). This does not say to continue to display love in the affirming fashion; but to display love in a pure, God-honoring and responsible fashion that exhorts one to the righteous living he/she has professed.
Thanks for letting me work this out, because I struggle with the confrontational aspects of this life - not that I don't believe God and His Word, for surely I do, more so everyday - but I am not outfitted for the confrontation naturally (definitely not a mouth or foot). I am probably more like an appendix, not sure what my role is in the body; but I am definitely in there somewhere.
Jesus, Wisdom and strength are Yours. Salvation comes from You and You alone. Holiness and purity are ascribed to you. Please lead me to follow Your Words, enable me with Your discernment to walk wisely and talk in integrity. Open my mouth when I need to that I might keep from approving of sin and thereby wrongly affirm its acceptance and possibly affirm a salvation not of You. Holy Spirit, convict Your people that sin may be as distasteful to each of us as it is to You. Help us to walk and talk consistent with our (Your) righteousness, that we may be tools of conviction for Your glorious Kingdom's sake.