Powerful Preaching or Contentious Commentary? A Lesson in Confronting Sin and Obeying God

In the clip below, Pastor Jim Standridge temper grows as he begins calling out the sins and issues he sees around him. 
According to the DailyMail report,
Dr Standridge claimed God had told him to rebuke Mr Underwood for missing several weeks of church, and added his words were 'tough love'.
'The Lord had showed me that [Mr Underwood's fiancée] was really getting in a bad thing with him,' he said. 'God charged me to go after those things. And I did.'
He added that he called Mr Underwood a few days later, and left a message explaining that it was God's work.
However, Mr Underwood said: 'The Bible says if you have a problem with your brother, go to him in private first. You just don't talk to people that way, especially in public.'
Although members of the congregation were embarrassed by the video, Dr Standridge stands by his comments.
'I'm a man of order, and we owe no one an answer for that. What concern is it of me what a carnal world thinks of this?' he told the Huffington Post.




First, let’s note Mr. Underwood’s correct understanding of Matthew 18:15-20.  While Dr. Standridge might have had valid concerns, and had the right to announce a break in fellowship with a congregant as part of the Matthew 18 process, he destroyed the point of the passage: loving an erring brother or sister and gathering in unity in Christ. 
By surprising the members of his church with a public airing of their alleged faults, he conveys a lack of love and fractures the fellowship.  Moreover, by calling out their sins as personal slights, he focuses the congregants on himself, not on the Holy God that they would have really sinned against (cf. Psalm 51:4).  As such, he separates himself from the people, making them feel like they amount less than… fifteen cents.  (How much do sparrows and lilies cost, again?)
Pastors and preachers, are we engaging in the most biblical way of calling out another person’s sin?  We must first pray, reflect upon our motives, study, and consider the person’s situation (rinse and repeat, if necessary) and then decide whether to approach the person.  And that is only Step One of loving that person.
Why did Dr. Standridge violate this process?  While we could speculate, let’s not border on gossip with our guesses. 
One thing is certain based on the report: he thought God told him to do so.  He doesn’t mean that he read it in the Bible, though: read his statement again:
'The Lord had showed me that [Mr Underwood's fiancée] was really getting in a bad thing with him,' he said. 'God charged me to go after those things. And I did.'
When someone is not referring to Scripture when they say, “God told me…,” they start down a dangerous path.  What they usually mean is that they assume their strong feelings about a situation came from God.  Sometimes, they mean that their internal monologue has lead them to this conclusion, and they assume God directed their thoughts in that way.  What they don’t mean is that a Voice audibly spoke to them (and, if they do, they claim prophet status, worthy of judgment according to the biblical prophets). 
Christians, especially their pastors, should avoid this sloppy language and practice.  We do things not because we have a gut impression that God wants us to do it, but because God’s Word says so.  When there is a situation where we believe we should talk to someone about a supposed sin, we go doubting ourselves and believing the best (1 Cor 13:7) because God really charges us to do that.
Sadly, Dr. Standridge could have saved himself and his people a lot of grief.  Let us all learn from this mistake and pray that God will be glorified somehow in this situation.

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